Using Negative Keywords in Google AdWords Campaigns

Are you a business looking to bring targeted leads to your site? You may already know about the value of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Google AdWords to help increase your traffic, but what about when you want to take that marketing a step further? Traffic is excellent, but only if that traffic is converting into sales. There are ways to specifically tailor your ad campaigns to hone in on those web users most likely (and most ready) to become your next paying customer. This means your marketing investment gets a better, more significant return and more high quality clicks.

What’s the secret? Negative keywords.

First Things First, What are Negative Keywords?

Essentially, negative keywords are words and phrases that you do not want web searchers to associate with your products and services. When you use negative keywords, you are implementing a complex keyword matching option that can prevent your ad from appearing when a user searches specific terms. For example, if you sell apparel, but you do not sell dresses, you can include “dress” or “dresses” as a negative keyword. When a user’s search includes that term, they will not be shown the ad. Because you’re working with PPC approaches, you want each and every click to be meaningful. Thus, your ad will appear to someone searching for products more aligned with what you offer. If you are a small to medium business using Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns or Ad Groups, you should definitely be using negative keywords.

When you incorporate negative keywords to your campaigns, you are not only saving money on pointless clicks, you are benefitting by seeing an improved click through rate (CTR). This helps to enhance your ad quality scores on Google, Yahoo, and other searche engines. As these scores rise, you will likely find your rankings increase.

Negative Keywords for B2B PPC Campaigns

When the customer you’re targeting is other businesses, you have a highly specific goal. Because of this, your targeted audience may be much narrower. In such situations, using negative keywords is exceptionally useful.
You’ll want to connect with web searchers who are the right demographic with the goal of obtaining their business. In the B2B situation, this means other businesses, perhaps in the same or similar industry, or who will need a service you provide. Unless this audience meets the specific aims of your business, what you don’t want is your ad to be clicked by researchers, students seeking education, job seekers, and others who are not positioned to buy. These will not be your customers.

A few examples:

If you want to keep recruiters or job seekers from seeing your ad, negative keywords might include hiring, salary, resume, internship, or job.

If researchers are not in your target market, you might consider negative keywords such as sample, guide, about, studies, metrics, tutorial, etc.

And if students looking for educational opportunities are not the right demographic for your business, words such as college, class, qualification, program, and diploma should be incorporated.

Much Work to Do

Remember that these negative keywords are just a starting point. A great deal of research is needed to assess which terms will direct your ads to the right (or wrong) web users. The best way to manage Google AdWords and PPC campaigns is to work with an experienced web marketing company. The expertise and knowledge brought to the table regarding negative keywords and so much more, will ensure your ads are carefully designed to get you the best possible results.

And that is something that is 100% positive.


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