The Importance of Negative Keywords

Written by - 16/02/2016

A powerful, yet often underutilised feature of AdWords is negative keywords. Running campaigns without negative keywords increases your chances of paying for irrelevant clicks, wasting your daily budget and stopping ads from displaying to your target audience.

What is a negative keyword?

Negative keywords tell Google that your ad is not relevant to users searching for that particular term and stops them being displayed if a search term includes any of your negative keywords.

Deciding on your negative keywords

While there are likely to be some universal terms, for each business, the words and phrases you choose to exclude will be completely different. Running a search terms report is a good starting point, you’ll quickly notice when your ads are triggering for phrases that you don’t want to be targeting. You can add keywords to your negative list directly from the report:

There are some fairly standard negative keywords that will be appropriate for the majority of accounts, terms like ‘free’, ‘jobs’, ‘review’ and ‘training’, but the more you monitor your keywords, the more you’ll think of negative keywords to add.

How do I add negative keywords?

In the keyword tab, you will see the option to click on ‘Negative keywords’ (below). Through continually monitoring, you’ll build up a strong list but it’s not something that should be forgotten, keep going back to it!

From here, you have the option to add negative keywords at either ad group or campaign level, depending on how specific it is.

Why bother?

There are clear benefits to building a strong and exhaustive negative keyword list;

  • Saving You Money
    Without negative keywords, your ads will be triggering for irrelevant terms and will be driving traffic that provides no benefit to your business, not resulting in sales. By excluding this traffic, you are not paying for unwanted clicks and have more room to drive relevant traffic more likely to convert – significantly improving your return on investment.
  • Better Results
    Once you have a good list in place, you should start to see improvements across your account data. With your ads being shown to a more relevant audience, your click through rate should see a notable rise, as should your number of conversions. Once these statistics start to improve, subsequently your quality score will increase meaning a lower cost per click – everyone’s a winner!
  • Your Name is Only Shown Where You Want It To
    Without using negative keywords, you’re not in control over where your brand name is appearing. The example below shows companies who are advertising web design to those looking for a job – they’re paying for clicks which will be of zero use!

Pay-Per-Click really is all about keywords, the more time you invest into compiling a thorough keyword and negative keyword list, the greater your results are likely to be. Obviously it’s not as simple as that and there’s a wide range of factors that can influence your campaigns performance. If you’re not happy with how your PPC is performing or are looking to launch a new campaign, get in touch and find out how we can help you generate conversions.