I have been doing PPC for over 7 years now, I have seen Google Adwords change, not always for the better. Recently in my new role as Head Of ECommerce at Medi Direct I have been getting down and dirty with restructuring their PPC campaigns.
The campaigns themselves were pretty good to be honest when I got there, however there seemed to be one major element missing… Negative Keywords! The campaigns had a few but not many, this was leading to high volumes of “non-relevant” traffic.
Some of you new to PPC may not know what Negative Keywords are, by adding negative keywords to your PPC campaign you are preventing your ads showing for searches containing those negative terms.
It is extremely important that you include these negatives in your PPC campaigns as they help you focus your website traffic and only get people clicking on your adverts who are actually interested in your products or services.
A little PPC Scenario.
For example, you are the owner of an on-line shoe shop, specialising in men’s shoes, you sell all sorts of men’s shoes from sandals, to trainers (sneekers) and smart shoes to boots. You are running a PPC campaign targeting your products, you should include negative keywords such as “womens” “women” “stilettos” “red high heels” etc… you get the picture! If you didn’t include these as negative keywords you are likely to find the your adverts are being displayed with people looking for womens shoes.
Ok so now you see why you should use Negatives in your PPC campaigns, the question remains “how do you find negative keywords?”. Its pretty straight forward, you need to begin as you would any other kind of “keyword research” by thinking of keywords which are broadly related to your website subject but would bring the wrong kind of traffic. there are various methods you can use to help you find these Negative Keywords.
1) Adwords Keyword Tool – Simply enter your website primary keywords into the keyword tool and pick through the list it gives you, picking out all non-related keywords, I usually save these into an excel spreadsheet for use later.
2) Google Suggest – Use the suggestions which Google provides when searching, these will often lead to some good negative keywords, simply type your primary search terms into Google search and note down anything you think could be a negative. using our “shoe shop” example, here is a screen shot to illustrate my point:
3) Google Product Search (formally Froogle) – This is really useful to highlighting brands or products which you don’t stock, for eaxmple rockport & doc martins below…
4) Amazon Book Search – Sounds a little odd doesn’t it? But there will be book titles including the keyword “shoe” or “shoes”, as you are not selling books you might want to consider adding these book titles as negative keywords to your PPC campaign. Two examples below are “The Seductive Shoes” & “Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More”.
5) Old Campaign Data – This isn’t always possible as often you will be starting a new campaign from scratch, but occasionally you may have some old campaign data which will give you a good insight into what is being searched for in your sector or niche. You might discover search terms which were generating a lot of traffic which may turn out to be “non-relevant”. To discover these non-relevant terms you should tick the keywords which have driven a lot of traffic through the old campaign and “see search terms”, this only works for Broad and Phrase match types. It will display exactly what the searcher typed in to trigger your advert. Analyse this data to discover negatives. Below is a screen shot of where to find this tool (from my stop snoring ppc campaign).
6) IMDB Movie Search – Similar to the Amazon Book Search method from above, you can search IMDB.com for films / movie titrles which contain your keywords, you should add these as negatives to your campaign to stop your adverts being triggered. Below is another example of our “shoe shop scenario”.
7) Google Analytics Keyword Referrals – An obvious one here, people who have been working within internet marketing for a short while will undoubtedly know how useful Google Analytics can be for keyword research. Negative Keywords can also be found by using the Keyword Referrals report in GA. Below is a nice list of “Informational Based” searches which have triggered my campaign for an “anti snoring device” product based PPC campaign. This information searches are unlikely to convert into a sale of my anti snoring device so I should add them as negative keywords.
8) Webmaster Tools Search Queries Report – Another potential source of Negative Keywords, this report details which search terms caused your site to display in the “organic” search results pages.
Other Great Sources Of Advice
There are many more methods of finding Negative Keywords, and also many other sources of tips and advice on how to use them within your PPC campaign. I would strongly recommend the following:
Thanks for reading my post, as ever if you liked it or would like to add something to my post please use the comment section below, share and even link back to the post I would very much appreciate it.
Thanks, Andy – @Andy_Morley