Stop Wasting Your Ad Budget: A Beginner’s Guide to Negative Keywords in PPC

Reliqus Marketing

23 March 2023

PPC

Negative keywords are specific words or phrases that you can add to your PPC campaigns to prevent your ads from being shown to users who are searching for those terms. Essentially, they’re the opposite of regular, or positive, keywords. While positive keywords trigger your ads to show up when users search for those terms, negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for those terms.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of negative keywords in PPC advertising and how they can help you save money and improve your overall campaign performance. We’ll also provide you with a beginner’s guide to identifying and adding negative keywords to your campaigns, as well as some best practices for using them effectively.

Difference Between Negative and Positive Keywords

Positive keywords are the words or phrases that you want your ads to show up for when users search for those terms. For example, if you sell running shoes, your positive keywords might include “running shoes,” “athletic footwear,” or “sneakers.” Negative keywords, on the other hand, are the words or phrases you don’t want your advertisements to appear for. For example, if you don’t sell women’s shoes, you might add “women’s shoes” as a negative keyword to prevent your ads from showing up when users search for that term.

How Negative Keywords Work?

When someone searches for something on a search engine like Google or Bing, the search engine looks for relevant ads to display alongside the search results. If one of your positive keywords matches the search query, your ad may show up. However, if one of your negative keywords matches the search query, your ad won’t show up, even if one of your positive keywords also matches the query. This helps ensure that your ads are only shown to users who are likely to be interested in your product or service, which can help improve your click-through rate (CTR) & conversion rate.

Negative Keywords Types for Google Ads

There Are Three Main Types of Negative Keywords: 

  • Broad-match negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that includes the specified term, regardless of the order or context. 
  • Phrase-match negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that includes the specified term in the exact order you specify but may include additional words before or after.
  • Exact match negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that exactly matches the specified term, with no additional words before or after. It’s important to use a mix of these match types to ensure that you’re not preventing your ads from showing up for relevant search queries.

Tools for Finding Negative Keywords

There are several keyword research tools available that can help you identify negative keywords for your PPC campaigns. Google’s Keyword Planner, for example, allows you to enter a list of positive keywords and generate a list of related keywords that you may want to add as negatives. Other tools, such as SEMrush and Ahrefs, also offer negative keyword research features.

Manual Research Methods for Finding Negative Keywords

In addition to using keyword research tools, you can also manually research negative keywords by reviewing your search query reports. These reports show you the exact search queries that triggered your ads to show up, which can help you identify any irrelevant or low-converting search terms that you may want to add as negatives.

Importance of Analyzing Search Terms

Analyzing your search terms and adding negative keywords to your campaigns is important for several reasons.

  • First and foremost, it can help you save money by preventing your ads from showing up for irrelevant or low-converting search terms. This means that you’ll only be paying for clicks from users who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
  • Secondly, analyzing your search terms can help you identify new keyword opportunities that you may not have thought of before. By reviewing the search terms that are triggering your ads, you may find that there are related keywords that you haven’t yet targeted with your positive keywords.

Keyword Match Types

When adding negative keywords to your campaigns, it’s important to understand the different keyword match types that are available. Just like with positive keywords, There are three main types of negative keywords match types:

  • Broad match: Broad match negatives will prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that includes the specified term, regardless of the order or context.
  • Phrase match: Phrase match negatives will prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that includes the specified term in the exact order you specify, but may include additional words before or after. 
  • Exact match: Exact match negatives will prevent your ads from showing up for any search query that exactly matches the specified term, with no additional words before or after.

Using a mix of these match types can help ensure that you’re not preventing your ads from showing up for relevant search queries, while still preventing them from showing up for irrelevant ones.

The Best Way to Include Negative Keywords in Your PPC Campaign

Adding negative keywords to your PPC campaign is relatively straightforward but the specific steps may vary depending on the advertising platform you’re using. In general, here’s how you can add negative keywords to your campaign:

  • Log in to your advertising account and navigate to the appropriate campaign.
  • Click on the “Keywords” tab.
  • Look for the option to add negative keywords, which may be a button or a dropdown menu.
  • Enter the negative keyword(s) you want to add to the campaign.
  • Choose the match type you want to use for the negative keywords.
  • Save your changes.

It’s important to regularly review and update your negative keyword list to ensure that you’re not blocking any relevant search queries. In the part after this, we’ll talk more about this.

How Often Should You Update Your Negative Keywords List?

It’s a good idea to review your negative keyword list at least once a week to ensure that you’re not inadvertently blocking any relevant search queries. If you notice that your ads are receiving impressions and clicks for irrelevant search queries, it may be time to add more negative keywords to your list. 

On the other hand, if you notice that your ads aren’t receiving enough impressions or clicks, you may need to remove some negative keywords to broaden your reach.

Additionally, you should review your negative keyword list whenever you make significant changes to your campaign, such as launching a new product or service, to ensure that your list is still relevant and effective. By regularly reviewing and updating your negative keyword list, you can help ensure that your PPC campaign is as targeted and effective as possible.

How to Measure the Impact of Negative Keywords on Your PPC Campaign?

One of the best ways to measure the impact of negative keywords on your PPC campaign is to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) before and after implementing your negative keyword list. This will give you a clear idea of how much of an impact your negative keywords are having on your campaign’s overall performance.

Key Performance Indicators to Track

Some of the key performance indicators to track when measuring the effectiveness of your negative keywords include:

  1. Click-through rate (CTR): This measures the percentage of users who clicked on your ad after seeing it. A higher CTR generally indicates that your ad is relevant and engaging to your target audience.
  2. Conversion rate: This measures the percentage of users who completed a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form, after clicking on your ad. A higher conversion rate generally indicates that your ad is effectively targeting the right audience.
  3. Cost per click (CPC): This measures the average cost per click for your ads. A lower CPC generally indicates that your ads are more relevant to your target audience and that you’re effectively using negative keywords to prevent wasted clicks.

Analyzing Data to Optimize Your Negative Keywords List

Once you’ve been running effective Google Ads for your PPC campaign with negative keywords for a period of time, you can use the data you’ve collected to optimize your negative keyword list. Look for search terms that are triggering your ads despite being irrelevant to your business, and add those terms to your negative keyword list. 

Additionally, look for negative keywords that may be blocking your ads from showing up for relevant search queries, and consider adjusting or removing those negative keywords. By regularly analyzing your campaign’s performance data, you can continually refine and improve your negative keyword list to maximize the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Negative Keywords

While negative keywords can be a powerful tool for improving your PPC campaigns, there are some common mistakes to avoid when using them. These include:

  1. Adding too many negative keywords: Adding too many negative keywords can prevent your ads from showing up for relevant search queries, which can decrease your overall CTR and conversion rate.
  2. Using broad match negative keywords exclusively: Broad match negative keywords can be useful, but they can also be too broad and prevent your ads from showing up for relevant search queries.
  3. Not regularly reviewing and updating your negative keyword list: As your business and industry evolve, it’s important to regularly review and update your negative keyword list to ensure that you’re not excluding relevant traffic.

The Impact of Using Too Many Negative Keywords

Using too many negative keywords can have a negative impact on your PPC campaigns. First You have to make Keyword Strategies While Implementing negative keywords. It can help you save money by preventing your ads from showing up for irrelevant search queries, using too many negative keywords can prevent your ads from showing up for relevant search queries as well. This can decrease your overall CTR and conversion rate, which can ultimately lead to wasted ad spend.

How to Avoid Excluding Relevant Traffic?

To avoid excluding relevant traffic, it’s important to use a mix of negative keyword match types, including broad match, phrase match, and exact match. It’s also important to regularly review and update your negative keyword list to ensure that you’re not excluding relevant search queries.

Additionally, using negative keyword lists that are specific to certain campaigns or ad groups can help ensure that you’re not excluding relevant traffic across all of your campaigns.

Finally, using negative keyword research tools and your search query reports can help you identify and add negative keywords that are relevant to your business and industry.

How to Balance Negative Keywords with Positive Keywords?

One of the keys to using negative keywords effectively is to strike the right balance between negative and positive keywords. While negative keywords can help you save money by preventing your ads from showing up for irrelevant search queries.

They can also prevent your ads from showing up for relevant search queries if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips for balancing negative keywords with positive keywords:

  1. Start with a small list of negative keywords: When you’re first starting out with negative keywords, it’s a good idea to start with a small list of terms and see how they perform before adding more. This will help you avoid accidentally blocking relevant search queries and give you a chance to refine your strategy over time.
  2. Use match types to your advantage: As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of match types for negative keywords – broad match, phrase match, and exact match. By using a mix of these match types, you can ensure that you’re not blocking relevant search queries while still preventing your ads from showing up for irrelevant ones.
  3. Regularly review and refine your negative keyword list: It’s important to regularly review and refine your negative keyword list to ensure that you’re not blocking relevant search queries. Look for any search queries that your ads are being blocked for that you actually want to show up for and add those terms as positive keywords.

Similarly, look for any search queries that your ads are showing up for that you don’t want to show up for, and add those terms as negative keywords.

By striking the right balance between negative and positive keywords, you can help ensure that your PPC campaigns are targeting the right audience and driving meaningful results for your business.

Conclusion

Negative keywords are an essential tool for any business looking to optimize its PPC campaigns. By adding negative keywords to your campaigns, you can ensure that your ads are only shown to users who are likely to be interested in your product or service. which can help improve your click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. 

Additionally, negative keywords can help you save money by preventing your ads from showing up for irrelevant or low-converting search queries.

To make the most of negative keywords in your PPC campaigns, it’s important to regularly review and update your negative keyword list. use a mix of broad, phrase, and exact match types, and leverage keyword research tools and search query reports to identify new negative keywords to add.

With these strategies in place, you can create highly targeted and effective PPC campaigns that drive conversions and maximize your return on investment (ROI).

In short, negative keywords may seem like a small detail in your PPC campaigns, but they can make a big difference in your campaign performance and your bottom line. Don’t overlook the power of negative keywords in your PPC advertising efforts.

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