Negative Keywords

How Negative Keywords Can Help You Get the Most Out of Your PPC Efforts

By Chelsea Boice


Paid search can be a beneficial channel for any inbound marketing strategy . From boosting brand awareness to driving increased traffic and sales conversions, paid search can help you build a better link between search engines and your website content.


One paid search tactic commonly used to help companies rank their pages above the noise and clutter of search engines results is pay-per-click (PPC), in case not fully optimized, your PAY PER CLICK efforts can turn out to be simply expensive, fruitless tactics.


One way to optimize your campaign is to use a negative keyword list. Before all of us delve into this topic, let’s have a quick refresher on a few of the basics of PPC:



Google Ads Fundamentals

With Google taking over search engine traffic, Google Ads is among the more powerful, cost-effective platforms available for applying and running PPC campaigns. Just how exactly does PPC work on Google Ads?


Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model, by which users bid on keywords and buy each click on their advertisements. Whenever a search is initiated, Google digs into the pool of marketers and chooses a set of winners to show up in the valuable ad space upon its search results page. The “winners” are chosen based on a mixture of factors, including the quality and meaning of their keywords and advertisements, as well as the size of their keyword offers. – Wordstream


As with search engine optimization (SEO), the building blocks of paid search is keywords— search terms or phrases that make it simpler for potential leads or purchasers to find your content on search engine results webpages (SERP).


The right keywords within a PPC campaign can help you better focus on prospects exactly when and where they are almost certainly to convert. But what if specific keywords are triggering PPC advertisements that are attracting the wrong type of site visitors?


That’s exactly where negative keywords come in.



See the Opportunity in Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are key phrases that relate to your business, industry, plus content, but they trigger clicks through people who are not your targets and who may not even be interested in your own brand or content.


From an organic SEO standpoint, that isn’t big deal. But because Google Ad’s auction style favors bet size and relevance, you could finish up wasting your budget on traffic which is less likely to convert.


Thankfully, negative keywords provide an excellent opportunity to further your campaign’s targeting and effectiveness. Online Ads, you can prevent your ads being displayed to anyone who utilizes these keyword or phrases within their search. But how do you determine which usually keywords to include in your negative key phrase list?



Analyzing Search Data

Where to Look

A person doesn’t have to look far to locate search terms and phrases to boost your negative keyword lists, mainly because one of the best places to look is in Google Ads itself:

  • Search Terms Report: With this report, you can view real search terms people used in Google that will triggered your ads. You can choose the keywords that might not have drawn the correct traffic by viewing which usually terms have lower click-through plus conversion rates.
  • Google Keyword Planner : If you want to identify negative keywords prior to them costing you anything, there’s no better place to look compared to Google Keyword Planner. Right here you can review keyword suggestions associated with terms you want to target in your advertisement campaigns, but it’s a useful tool to identify unrelated conditions to exclude.


Pro Tip : Negative keyword lists are not the set-it-and-leave-it effort. Comb through lookup data frequently to make sure you’re also  staying on top of new search terms which could hurt your conversion rates.



What to Look for

Identifying negative keywords can be challenging because it requires analyzing and learning the searcher’s intent. You’ll almost have to dig a bit to determine if a searcher is looking for everything you offer or something else?


For example , someone searching for “cybersecurity jobs near me” is likely searching for employment opportunities in a specific location, while someone searching for “cybersecurity careers training” may be focused more on development opportunities. Both searches make use of the keywords “cyber security jobs” however the intent of each inquiry is different.


Understanding why the searcher is using a keyword and determining their intended end goal is vital in order to building an effective negative keyword checklist.


Pro Suggestion: Choose your bad keywords carefully. If you use too many damaging keywords, you may prevent qualified individuals and their search queries through seeing your ads.



Getting the Most From PPC

PPC and paid search provide businesses and marketers added visibility to attract target personas, but it can become an expensive endeavor if not fully optimized. Making use of negative keywords is not only an effective way to cut down on wasted ad spend, but it can also significantly improve your ads’ conversions.



About the writer

Chelsea Boice Chelsea is an Associate Consultant at SmartBug. She previously worked as a freelance Digital Marketer supporting B2B and B2C organizations with inbound, email, plus social marketing campaigns.


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