Negative Keywords Back in AdWords

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I noticed by chance the other day while searching in the Google keyword tool that the negative keyword tool is back. Unfortunately it is not available in the same section as it was previously. Instead you have to perform an “existing keyword” search (versus a “descriptive keywords or phrases” or a “website content” one) to gain access to the negative keyword tool.

But once you arrive at a keyword list based on some of your existing keywords (especially those with high demand but potentially unfavorable overlap with less qualified meanings) you can set the additional phrase or word as a negative keyword to your ad group.

Using negative keywords is an important strategy for keeping less qualified searches from triggering your PPC ad. In today’s quality scoring environment, less impressions for unqualified searches means better performance and potentially higher positions and lower click cost prices. In some hyper-competitive markets or for products or services that have multiple keyword meanings, adding negative keywords will make a big difference in performance. But without negative keyword tools like the one now available with AdWords, manually figuring out the potential negative keyword combinations is difficult.

I have been shocked on more than one occasion when searching Google’s keyword tool and finding keyword variations completely outside the scope of a client’s business. For example, one client’s brand name could trigger sports-related ads, personal development ads and mutual fund ads besides business ads which the client wanted to appear for. By using the negative keyword tool, I was able to minimize the number of times my client’s ads appeared for those mixed message and unqualified keyword searches.

If you haven’t tested using negative keywords for your campaigns, I highly recommend doing so in the near future. It is an excellent strategy for improving the performance of your campaigns and minimizing unqualified click-throughs to your landing pages. And luckily Google is listening because they have made executing a negative keyword strategy a whole lot easier. Will Yahoo or Microsoft follow?

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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