How to Turn the Use of Negative Keywords to a Positive

Thursday, September 24, 2009 | 10:14 AM

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WHY ARE NEGATIVE KEYWORDS GOOD FOR YOUR CAMPAIGNS?

Negative keywords can have a positive impact on your campaigns because they help you filter out irrelevant searches. When you include negative keywords, you're essentially requesting that the system does not show your ads against search queries containing those words. For example, if your organization works to prevent animal cruelty, you might want to add the keyword, adoption (-adoption) as a negative term. Why? Because you don't want your ads to show on queries such as "animal adoption" since you are not providing animal adoption services.

WHERE CAN I FIND NEGATIVE KEYWORDS TO ADD?

The Keyword Tool automatically gives you suggestions for negative terms, and the Search Query Performance report is another great way to find relevant negatives. The report shows all the various search queries that triggered your ads and generated a click. By reviewing these terms, you can identify any irrelevant keywords that trigger your ad and include them as negative keywords.

HOW DO I ADD NEGATIVE KEYWORDS?

Adding negatives is easy. You can manually add negative keywords to your keyword lists at both the ad group and campaign level. Simple add the irrelevant terms by placing a negative sign (–) before the word in your keyword list. Keep in mind that you can also add negatives as different match types. Here's how different negative match types work:

Negative Broad match: keyword (no punctuation)
Allows your ad not to show for searches on similar phrases and relevant variations of the term. For example, if you add -"adoption," your ad will not show for animal adoption, pet adoptions, animal adopted.


Negative Phrase match: -"keyword"
Allows your ad to not show for searches that match the exact phrase and terms that have the phrase in it for example if you add -"animal adoption" will not show for "animal adoption California."

Negative Exact match: -[keyword]
Allows your ad to not show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively.

By adding negative terms to your AdWords account, you ensure that you're spending your Google Grant only on relevant clicks and improving your account's overall performance. Here's a great video on Negative Keywords that provides more tips.