If you’re using anything else other than pure exact matches, arguably the most important match type in your campaign is the negative keyword.
By constantly improving the negative keyword list, you can dramatically improve the targeting. An exhaustive negative keyword list is key to improve both CTR and CR, and ultimately campaign success.
There are two main uses of negative keywords:
1) To avoid showing for irrelevant keywords full stop (campaign level).
2) To increase control of which keywords are being triggered (ad group level). This is particularly useful when using multiple match types.
My process for negative keyword sourcing:
1. Apply industry standard lists on the campaign level.
These should be self-produced, and consist of keywords that you will never want to show against. For example, for software clients with a sales objective, you might have a standard list with words such as “jobs,” “torrent,” “hack,” etc. These lists should not be too exhaustive as it poses a risk of excluding pertinent searches by mistake.
2. Brainstorm additional negative keywords for the specific campaign.
Think long and hard about if you want to show against words such as “free” if your product costs money. This is a tricky one. In the case of software, if your price point is very good, you might be able to entice people to go for a trusted brand instead of freeware. For example, for a past client, one of the top-converting phrases contained the word free; whenever the client did a 50% discount drive, the conversion rate of this phrase shot through the roof.
3. Add any obvious irrelevant keywords that are found through the keyword research.
If you plan to use broad match keywords in the campaign, also add irrelevant synonyms to avoid them triggering ads.
4. On the ad group level, add negative phrase and exact matches (embedded) as required, to avoid broad matches to trigger where there is an exact match in another ad group.
5. Constantly add negative keywords as sourced from search query reports (e.g., keywords that are irrelevant, or don’t convert).
What’s your process and tools for sourcing negative keywords?