Posted by & filed under Google Ads Tips, Negative Keywords.

Negative Keywords simplify the task of getting relevant traffic to your website. So instead of wasting money on unwanted clicks you can add terms as negative keywords if they are irrelevant or are low performing. But, it requires a lot of time and effort to understand which terms need to be listed as negative keywords. The impact it may have on your account is immense. So if you aren’t sure about a search term then you must do a little study before considering it irrelevant.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that Negative Keywords should be ignored. They are crucial and an essential component.

In this post we take the task of unfolding some of the points that you need to consider before adding a term as a negative keyword. So if you are in the process of scanning your search query report for such terms,you might want to run through the following checklist, before coming to a conclusion.

1) Is the keyword converting otherwise?

If you sell shoes online and realize that the keyword green running shoes doesn’t garner great results, you might think of adding green as a negative keyword and concentrate on other converting keywords. However, on further analyzing you realize that though green running shoes doesn’t convert but green trekking shoes gets great results, so you end up blocking that search term too. It is better then to analyze the search query report for any such contradictions. In the example stated, it might be a better idea to add “green running shoes” (phrase match) as a negative keyword instead of the word green.

2) Is it landing page and search query issue?

As explained by Brad Geddes in his tutorial on negative keywords. If you have a search query that goes to two separate landing pages, you might want to focus on which is a better performing combination or which combination meets your target CPA. For e.g:

Search Query   CPA (assumption)
Green running shoes Landing Page 1 10
Green running shoes Landing Page 2 35

In the above example the issue doesn’t lie with the search query but with the search query and landing page combination. You would not prefer to remove the keyword from the ad group but from the landing page it is associated with. What you might want to do here is either remove the landing page from the ad group where the CPA is 35 or remove the keyword from the ad group which directs to that landing page.

3) Is the keyword going to be blocked or not?

While adding a keyword as a negative keyword you might want to add all related terms as negative keyword as well. Negative keywords don’t consider close variants, so if you want to block your ad from showing for the keyword altogether, add them too. Close variants are any misspelling, similarities and singular or plural form of your keyword.

4) Is the keyword performing in any other ad group?

If you have an irrelevant search term showing for multiple ad groups then before moving a term to your negative list, you might want to have a look at other ad groups where it might be performing. If yes, then it would be wise to remove that term from only the ad group where it isn’t performing well and adding it as a negative keyword there. Here, ad group level negatives play the role of blocking negatives only from a specific ad group.

5) Is the negative keyword match type correct?

For e.g., if you sell honey you realize that terms such as bee, bee pollen gets results too. Now you might think adding bee as a negative keyword would stop your ad from showing. It will. But it will also stop showing your ad for a relevant term such as bee honey. In this case it is better to add [bee] and “bee pollen” as negative keywords, to still let your ad show for search queries with the term bee otherwise. You can learn about negative keyword match types in this post.

6) Is the negative keyword common across campaigns?

In cases where the same negative keyword applies to multiple campaigns, you can save time by creating a Shared Negative List. Here’s an article on ‘How to create shared negative list in AdWords‘ that will help you through the process in creating one. You could also refer this article on ‘9 types of Negative Keywords Lists Your AdWords account should have‘.

7) Is the negative keyword conflicting with any other keyword?

If you are handling an account with multiple campaigns you might skip noticing that a negative keyword you added is conflicting with a bidded keyword. What it means is, your negative keyword is blocking an ad from showing for a keyword you are bidding on.

For e.g. if you have added a negative keyword free and simultaneously you are running an ad with the keyword sugar free juice, then your ad gets blocked. Google in such a case raises an alert. So, before adding a negative keyword you might want to re-check your existing keywords list too

Hope following the above steps, saves you from making any mistakes while creating your negative keywords list.

Identifying negative keywords for large accounts or multiple client accounts can be tedious if done manually. An automated negative keywords discovery tool can save tons of time and effort for the PPC Manager. Not to mention, this will also save the wasted ad spend on AdWords. Give our negative keywords tool a try.

Now, our Negative Keywords Tool is Free for accounts with ad spend less than $10,000 per month. Save 10-20% of your search ad spend for free.


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