10th May 2017

The beginner’s guide to negative keywords

If you use Google AdWords as part of your digital marketing strategy, then you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about which keywords to target. But to make your campaigns as cost effective and targeted as possible, the question is how much time have you devoted to identifying negative keywords?

If you’re not sure what negative keywords are, you’re not alone – according to WordStream, almost 50% of businesses don’t use negative keywords to fine tune their AdWords campaigns. These businesses could be spending far more than they need to on pay per click (PPC) advertising as a result.

What are negative keywords?

Google defines negative keywords as ‘A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase’.

In other words, negative keywords are search terms that might sound relevant to the product or service you’re advertising but are unlikely to convert from impressions (views of your ad) to clicks through to your website or to bookings or sales.

When you create a list of negative keywords, you essentially tell Google that those search terms aren’t relevant to your business. In turn, as your ads won’t be shown in response to negative keyword searches, you won’t be charged for unprofitable impressions.

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Negative keyword examples

For a real-world example, let’s imagine that you want to run an AdWords campaign for ‘bodysculpting’ using cryolipolysis.

It would probably be sensible to list phrases such as ‘weight loss products’, ‘herbal weight loss’ and ‘lose fat’ as negative search terms. Why? Because these are terms that could conceivably relate to bodysculpting but that people are more likely to use when looking diet products or healthy eating plans, rather than ‘fat freezing’.

With a quick search for ‘bodysculpting’ in Google, it immediately becomes apparent that the search engine will return results about ‘personal trainers’, ‘bodysculpting exercises’, ‘bodysculpting classes’, ‘bodysculpting diet’ and ‘core conditioning’. As this wouldn’t be relevant to ad campaigns promoting fat freezing, these are also search terms that we might want to add to our negative keyword list.

As we know, some people shop on price alone, which may not be the right approach for your clinic. To deter potential customers who are looking for the lowest price deal, you might want to add words such as ‘free’, ‘cheap’ and ‘low price’ to your negative keyword list. You may also decide to include common searches such as ‘ebay’ or ‘wowcher’ or words such as ‘naked’, ‘nude’, ‘porn’ or ‘sex’ that people can conceivably use in searches for bodysculpting techniques.

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Sometimes it pays to think about the negatives!

Learning how to use negative keywords effectively does take time as well as a healthy dose of trial and error. As you’ve hopefully seen with this overview, it can pay dividends in the long-run to build a list of negative keywords.

As well as making your AdWords campaigns more cost effective, this approach also helps to ensure that your potential clients see the most relevant ads, saving them time, hassle and money and generating good will.

Not sure what keywords or negative keywords to choose for your AdWords campaigns? As a Google Certified Partner, we can help you to craft the best campaign for your business, whatever your services are – call us at Cosmetic Digital on 0115 9140 640 for more information.

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