Negative Keywords & Why They’re Important

Negative keywords are one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to the success of a pay per click campaign. However, this simple solution is a powerful tool when used correctly. As an automotive advertising agency, we understand how important the lack of a negative keyword list can be. Within this article, we will dive straight into what negative keywords are, some of the top reasons why every account should have them, and how they can impact your accounts’ performance.

 

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are a type of keyword that prevents an ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. We include words and phrases in a negative keyword list that we specifically don’t want our ads to show for. Here, we’ll look at three examples:

Example #1:

A screenshot from Google Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool of one of our Jaguar accounts, where a negative keyword is preventing our ad from being shown for irrelevant searches:

ad not showing because of a strong keywords list

Explanation: The search query is about jaguar animals, and even though we have jaguar as a keyword, we have excluded the word “animal” from the campaign. That way, in searches like that, our ad is not being shown.

Example #2:

A screenshot from a Google search, where an advertiser hasn’t built a strong negative keyword list and his ad is being shown for irrelevant and not specific searches:

ad showing for irrelevant search

Explanation: In this example, we have a search query for Ford truck baby walker and an ad for a Ford vehicle is showing. In such cases, the advertiser should add the word baby walker as a negative keyword, in order for the ad to not show on such irrelevant searches.

Example #3:

Another screenshot from a Google search, where an advertiser hasn’t built a strong negative keyword list and his ad is being shown for irrelevant and not specific searches:

ad showing because of weak negative keyword list

Explanation: In this example, we have a search query for a Honda motorcycle model and an ad for a Honda car dealership is showing. In such cases, the advertiser should add all Honda motorcycle models as negative keywords, in order for the ad to not show on such searches.

 

Four Reasons to Include Negative Keywords

  • Decrease CPC
  • Increase CTR
  • Increase ROI
  • More relevancy

 

How Negative Keywords Affect Performance

Building a strong negative keywords list might not be easy, but it is definitely rewarding! While it might take some time and thought to go over the search terms report and research on Google, it could increase the accounts’ performance as well as decrease ad spend!

We are going to compare two dealership’s accounts, located in the midwest area. Both accounts have around the same amount of monthly traffic, the same monthly budgets, but are in different phases of building their negative keyword lists:

Account #1

Account #1 is at the beginning of building its negative keyword list. Through paid search, the account has received 20,000 impressions and 1,000 clicks. Because of the lack of negative keyword list, the search ads have shown more often, which has resulted in a lower CTR.

1,000 clicks / 20,000 impressions = 5% CTR

Account #2

Account #2 has built a strong negative keyword list. Through paid search, the account has received 10,000 impressions and 9,000 clicks. When built correctly, its negative keywords list could prevent the search ads to show on irrelevant searches as the examples above, which has resulted in a higher CTR.

900 clicks / 10,000 impressions = 9% CTR

 

With the above examples, we are showing that what matters is the quality of the traffic that we are driving through our ads. When we build a strong and extensive negative keywords list, we are eliminating the majority of irrelevant searches and are driving high quality traffic to our clients’ websites. By having an almost doubled CTR like the above example, we are sending Google pretty strong signals showing that our ads are highly relevant to the keywords that we have. We would pay less for future clicks because of this relevancy, well performing ads, and highly-targeted keywords.

 

How to Find Negative Keywords

  • Brainstorm – if you are a Chevrolet dealer and are advertising Chevy Colorado, you might want to exclude “Colorado state”.
  • Do a search – see what else is on the first page on Google and is spelled the same and sound the same but have different meaning/purpose from the product you are offering.
  • Search term report – if your account has been live for some time and has already collected some data, check the search term report and see what people are actually searching for on Google.
  • Keyword search tool – it will give you ideas of keywords and phrases close to the keyword that you have entered, also you might see keywords that you don’t want your ad to be shown for.

 

If you are looking for an advertising agency to take over your paid search campaigns to improve your accounts’ performance and build a strong extensive negative keyword list – we are here for you! Contact us today at (847) 297-1700 and see how our digital marketing services can benefit your business!

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About the author: Petya Hristova

Petya Hristova
Petya is a PPC Specialist on the Aronson Advertising SEM team. When she is not optimizing her PPC campaigns, you can find her dancing, attending Shakespeare theater plays and spending time with her family.

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