Keywords are an integral part of any online advertising campaign. However, what is sometimes overlooked is the equal importance of negative keywords, which are word filters that disqualify ads from being triggered by users’ search queries. For example, if the term “iPhone” is one of your keywords, each time somebody runs a search for that keyword your ad will be displayed. Similarly, if someone were to run a search for the term “iPhone problems,” your ad will also be displayed since the main keyword “iPhone” is present in the search query.
To avoid bloating total impressions with irrelevant searches it is important to add the word “problems” as a negative keyword so that the “iPhone problems” query would not trigger your ads. Negative keywords will not only improve your click-through rate, but will also improve the traffic quality that your pay-per-click advertising generates since the negative keywords should be filtering out many undesirable clicks.
Negative Keyword Tips & Tricks
Review your web analytics search keywords log and write down all irrelevant negative modifiers to your core words. Examples would include bad, poor and problematic.
Look at the free keyword research tools such as WordTracker (Freekeywords.wordtracker.com) or Keyword Discovery (Keyworddiscovery.com) and write down all irrelevant keywords that you might want to potentially exclude.
Run a search query performance report in Google to see if your ads are triggered by irrelevant keywords. To run this report, go to Reports then to Create a New Report and select Search Query Performance.
Consider installing simple tracking software such as HitTail to easily determine potential negative keywords
Additionally, consider adding the following negative keywords to all of your campaigns to get started: Free, no charge, how-to, do-it-yourself, info, information, define, definition, no cost, DIY, trial, picture, pictures, image, sample, example, review, comparison, comparisons, negative review, bad review, poor, faulty, broken, manual, user manual, instructions, instruction guide, freebie, support, giveaway, contest and help.
Keep It Up
Researching and adding negative keywords should be an ongoing weekly task that will help fine tune your campaign and ultimately improve performance. To add negative keywords in Google AdWords, go to Tools, and then to Edit Campaign Negative Keywords. In Yahoo!, go to Search Marketing, then to Administration, Tactic Settings and Edit. For Microsoft’s adCenter go to Select a Campaign and Edit.