As you already know, keywords are crucial to your PPC marketing. Choosing the right keywords is key to generating revenue from your paid search campaigns.
As important as it is to increase sales, it is also important to reduce unnecessary ad data. Again, keywords are fundamental. But in this case we are not talking about normal active keywords. Instead, we're going to talk about negative keywords, a tool that will help you control waste and focus your ad spend solely on keyword traffic that creates value.
Let's dive deeper. By the end of this short guide you will understand:
Why negative keywords are important for your PPC campaigns
How to find and use negative keywords
A simple and free tool
Here is a quick and easy way to create a list of negative Generating Keywords: A Free WordStream Keyword Tool. Just enter a general term related to your business and select your industry and country.
As the tool populates the results with suggested keywords, keep in mind which keywords aren't relevant to your business. Bingo! These are perfect negative keywords.
In the example above, the free Keyword Tool generated suggestions for the search query "cars". As you can see, many consumers use Google to find opportunities to buy used cars. Let's say you manage Google Ads campaigns for a luxury car dealership that only sells new cars. Because consumers who want to buy used cars aren't important to your business, you don't want them to see your ads. These clicks can result in a lot of unnecessary costs. Just add "use" as a negative keyword and you're done!
To get a full picture of the questions your ads can trigger — and create a complete list of negative keywords — simply enter your email address and indicate whether you're interested in PPC or SEO. We'll send the entire result straight to your inbox!
It's almost impossible to imagine every possible negative keyword people might search for, so starting with a negative keyword tool is a great way to ensure your campaigns are effective and are inexpensive.
Still have questions about negative keywords? Continue reading!
What are negative keywords?
You can use negative keywords to prevent your ads from matching inappropriate searches. Let's say you use PPC to promote kids' dance classes. Using geo-targeting, it offers the modified broad match keyword + dance lessons. When someone near you uses Google+ to search "adult dance classes," your ad will be auctioned. Because your ad isn't relevant to that person, one of two bad things happens: they
skip your ad, which lowers their click-through rate (CTR).
They will click on your ad and realize that your business is irrelevant to you, which will cost you money.
By adding "adult" as a negative keyword, you can prevent both scenarios from happening. You can add negatives at the account, campaign, or ad group level. Broad match negative keywords (e.g. adult dance class) prevent your ad from showing if all parts of the negative keyword are included in the search query, regardless of word order. So while our example would prevent the query "adult dance class" from triggering your ad, it wouldn't prevent "adult dance" from triggering it.
Examples of negative-broad-match-keyword-match queries Broad-match
keywords (e.g. "adult dance classes") prevent your ad from showing when the negative keyword is included in a specific order in the search query. So in our example, your ad would be prevented from being served by the search query "weekly adult dance classes" but not "adult dance classes" from being triggered.
Exactly matching negative keywords (e.g. [adult dance class]) will prevent your ad from showing if the negative keyword matches a search query. So while our example would prevent your ad from being triggered by the query "adult dance classes", it would not prevent "adult dance classes" from being triggered.
Example of negative exact match keywords
Although negative broad match keywords are very restrictive, negative phrase matching is only moderately restrictive and negative exact match keywords are only slightly restrictive. Because there are so many unique ways to look for adult dance classes, the negative broad match would be your best bet in this hypothetical scenario. However, keep in mind that being too restrictive can weaken your potential to reach new prospects.
The Importance of Negative Keywords
As we've said before, showing your ad to someone who isn't interested in your business will result in a lost impression or a lost click. We don't need to explain why the calls are unwanted; Given their cost, it's obvious that you want to convert as many of those clicks into conversions as possible.
However, there are some nuances to the undesirable with lost impressions. Your ad click-through rate (CTR) measures how often people who see your ad actually click on it. The more impressions are converted into clicks, the higher the CTR of your ad - and vice versa. Every time someone sees your ad and doesn't click on it, for example because it's not relevant to them, your CTR goes down.
CTRL = (Clicks/Impressions) x 100
Why is this important? Because the Quality Score assigned to the keyword associated with your ad is determined in part by the expected CTR. The lower your expected CTR, the lower the Quality Score. A lower Quality Score means a lower Ad Rank and higher cost per click (CPC).
In other words, a drop in CTR - due to your ad matching irrelevant searches - tells Google that your ad isn't particularly relevant or useful to the people we're trying to reach. So they charge more money to appear in paid search results.
This is why negative keywords are so important: they keep your ads away from irrelevant searches and avoid unnecessary CPC increases.
How to Find and Add Negative Keywords
Ok - we agree on what negative keywords are and why they are important to your PPC marketing. Now let's talk about the strategies you can use to find negative keywords and add them to your Google Ads account. There are generally two ways to do this: reactive and proactive. There is nothing wrong at all.
Reactive research and adding negative keywords
The reason we call this approach reactive is because it involves searching for the search terms that are currently showing your ads. Let's explain.
Open the Google Ads interface and click the Keywords tab on the left.
From there, navigate to the search term report on the right.
This handy report lets you see which search terms are triggering your ads. More specifically, you'll see three columns:
Search term: Search queries that will cause your ads to appear
. Match type: Indicates whether each search query matches a broad, phrase, or exact keyword.
Added/Excluded: If each search query already has a keyword or
negative keywords search terms report
reading searches that aren't relevant. Once you've found one of these budget killers, simply check the box to the left of the search query and in the options screen that appears, select Add as negative keyword. That's all!
As you probably know, this process is...boring. Also, when your eyes glaze over and your brain turns to oatmeal, your ability to make qualitative judgments is severely impaired. Fortunately, there is a much more quantitative way to add negative keywords reactively. Basically, you filter your search terms report based on three key metrics: CTR, conversion rate (CVR), and cost-per-action (CPA). This allows you to see which searches are performing poorly for your business, which may indicate they should be added as negative keywords.
To filter something, go back to the report search term and click the funnel icon. Here you can select the metrics you want to filter from a pre-populated list.
As a best practice, we recommend layering your filters, ie displaying several at once. For example, you can see which queries generate high clock speeds and cost you a lot of money - but don't convert well.
Are you wasting your Google Ads? Find out with our free Google Ads Performance Tracker.
negative keywords negative-keyword-layered-filter
Proactively find out which ones are costing you dearly. To do this, you need to compile some lists of negative keywords. As you can imagine, these are simply lists of negative words based on irrelevant searches that might otherwise match your keywords.
As an example, let's go back to the hypothetical scenario of a children's dance studio. You don't need a search term report to know that searches like "dance classes for adults," "dance studio for all ages," and "dance classes for older couples" can trigger your ads to show. So why not proactively add these terms as negative keywords and put aside unnecessary spend as soon as possible?
To get started with your first negative keyword list, click the tools icon at the top of the Google Ads interface and select Negative Keyword Lists from the Shared Library menu.
Negative Keyword Lists
Start generating negative keywords today!
As we have hopefully explained so far, negative keywords are crucial to running successful PPC campaigns. Ultimately, the goal of paid search advertising is to deliver highly relevant offers to the most relevant consumers and businesses. Without a solid negative keyword management strategy, relevance fails.
It's not the most exciting part of managing a PPC account, but it's definitely one of the most rewarding.
Access the free keyword tool and get started!
How to use this keyword tool
1) Enter campaign objective keywords to get suggestions.
2) You will get a list of frequently searched related keywords.
3) Choose words that don't match your product or service.
4) Once you've created your list, copy and paste it into the negative keywords section of your campaign.
What is a negative keyword?
A negative keyword is a type of keyword that prevents your ad from showing with a specific word or phrase. Your ads won't show to people who search for that term. This is also known as negative matching.
The main purpose of using negative keywords in AdWords campaigns is to reduce the number of irrelevant visitors, thereby reducing the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for that channel.
For example, if you add "free" as a negative keyword to your campaign or ad group, you're telling AdWords not to show your ad for searches that include the term "free".
On the Display Network, your ad is less likely to appear on a website if your negative keywords match the website's content.
Where to Find More Negative Keywords
Our free negative keyword tool already looks for searches related to your business keywords and gives you a long list of suggestions. But if you want to go further, here are some options -
Google Keyword Planner is most commonly used in the early stages before launching campaigns. Adding some of the most popular negative keywords helps, but it's not enough.
Google Search Console is another great resource. If you have a lot of organic traffic, chances are you'll find a lot of good negative keyword optimization questions in your AdWords console.
Google Adwords Search Terms Statistics - All searches that trigger your keywords in ads are collected on your account. This way, you can add new words and phrases to your negative keyword list every day, week, or month
Free Negative Keyword Generator
The most common way to lose money is to pay for traffic that you (a) don't want, (b) don't convert at all, and (c) convert very poorly.
These are unnecessary advertising costs. We've found that unnecessary spend accounts for 10-20% of your total advertising budget. We've also seen some amazing numbers, but thankfully they're rare. Others have saved a million dollars by using negative keywords.
We help you to save unnecessary advertising data. This tool allows you to identify and block low-quality traffic for your campaigns. And we'll help you do it quickly. In about 10 minutes. Minute by minute, this is the highest return on investment you'll get from your ad account.
Generous free ticket price. We charge a very low price for our negative keyword tool. In addition, we offer a generous free tier.