3 Simple Tips To Expand Your Negative Keyword List

Making A Negative Keyword List and Checking it Twice

Making A Negative Keyword List and Checking it Twice

Guest post by Akvile Harlow

Whether you are a fan of only using one or all match types in your PPC campaigns, negative keywords can be beneficial to your marketing efforts. Using negative keywords can help prevent your ads from appearing and receiving clicks in search results in which they may be irrelevant, thus driving up cost and increasing bounce rate. Ads that are more relevant to search query results will improve quality score and click-thru-rate (CTR), which is what we aim for as PPC campaign managers.

Adding negative keywords is important no matter which match type you use in your PPC campaigns, although it is highly recommended if you are running broad and phrase match types. Negative keywords can be added at the campaign level and at the ad group level in case some of your ad groups are specialized. If you are unsure of how find negative keywords, not a problem! Here are a few simple tips to help you get started in building out your keyword lists:

Look At Organic and Paid Search Results

Although this may an obvious source to locate keywords, it’s also a very useful one. Search for keywords relevant to your business or industry and take a look at the organic results and the paid search ads that appear.  See what keywords you may be missing, what your competitors are doing, and if irrelevant results are popping up for what you were hoping to show up for. Take note of any search results that are irrelevant and add them to your negative keyword list. You can also run a regular keyword report for your campaigns so you know what search terms are causing your ads to appear. Try this out from time to time because it’s always a good idea to see how your ads appear and what else is showing up for your search terms. For example, I ran a search a while back for cat insurance, however, a lot of car insurance ads were showing up.  Since these two types of insurance vary quite a bit, I doubt both of those industries want to appear for each other’s search results. Adding negative keywords would help resolve this.

Google’s Keyword Tool

Google has a great free tool to search for keywords called the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Use this tool to find keywords and add them to your campaigns. This tool is extremely helpful in seeing which keywords Google thinks are relevant to your company, industry, product, or service. You may be surprised by the results! Use this tool to create a list of positive and negative keywords that apply to your campaigns. Try this tool out so you don’t advertise products/services you don’t carry or to customers who are looking for the opposite of what you are offering.

Use A Thesaurus

Lastly, if want to check out other negative keywords you may have possibly missed otherwise, a thesaurus can be a great and free tool worth using. Take a look at the results the thesaurus provides you when you run your keywords through it. This is an excellent way to generate additional positive and negative keywords for your campaigns.

Setting up a negative keyword list is a fairly quick and simple process that should be done every so often. Setting up a negative keyword list can help improve your CTR and save your budget by displaying your ads to the most relevant searches, so why wait, start setting yours up today if you haven’t yet!

What are some other ways you’ve discovered negative keywords?

Akvile Harlow is the Search Engine & Social Media Marketing Manager at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) where she structures and optimizes their PPC and Social Media campaigns. When she’s not surfing the web, you can find her surfing on snow and water, traveling, and painting.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Giveawayboy)

 

5 responses to “3 Simple Tips To Expand Your Negative Keyword List”

  1. Chad Summerhill

    I helped build a tool for mining your own PPC Search Term Report for Negaitve Keywords:

    http://queryminer.com/negative-keyword-tool

    You can get your analysis for FREE and we also give you 5% of the suggested negative keywords for free.  It’s a great way to audit your AdWords account to see if negative keywords could help you.If you like to do things the manual way, I’ve also written a lot about negative keywords here:

    http://www.chadsummerhill.com/search-query-mining-campaign-negatives/

    http://www.chadsummerhill.com/advanced-search-query-mining-excel-template/ (FREE Excel Template)

    Good luck building out your negative keywords!

  2. Jennifer MacDonald

    Akvile thank you for this straight forward explanation. I am definitely an amateur with SEO and it usually goes over my head. You post is very easy to understand, and I am excited to get started.

    Should these keywords be used mainly in my PPC ads, or is it great to transfer this info into social media. I do not have a blog for my company yet so I am limited in that way.

    1. Akvile

      Thank you so much Jennifer, glad you found the post useful! Knowing what keywords to use on your site and marketing efforts is important and can be applied to organic and paid search marketing. If and when you do create a company blog, write website content, or share information via social media channels, it’s important to include relevant terms since search engines are beginning to incorporate social media data for ranking purposes.

    2. Akvile

      Thank you so much Jennifer, glad you found the post useful! Knowing what keywords to use on your site and marketing efforts is important and can be applied to organic and paid search marketing. If and when you do create a company blog, write website content, or share information via social media channels, it’s important to include relevant terms since search engines are beginning to incorporate social media data for ranking purposes.

    3. Akvile Harlow

      Thank you! I’m happy to hear you found this information useful. It’s great to know and use your keywords throughout all campaigns, whether it’s SEO, PPC, or Social Media.

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