Using Negative Keywords

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With the further tightening of Google AdWords quality scoring and the new “performance pricing” model of Yahoo Search, using negative keywords (or excluded keywords) is essential for achieving greater PPC performance. Let me explain…

First, adding negative keywords enables you to target the specific keywords you want your ad to display for. In a world of endless keyword phrases and combinations, targeting the best ones for your business is crucial. Why? Because more precise keyword targeting increases your ad relevancy which increases the likelihood of a click-through and eventually a website conversion.

Similarly, using negative keywords reduces the number of less relevant ad impressions while hopefully (if you write decent ads) increasing click-through rates – a performance metric factored into the quality score calculation. Therefore, applying negative keywords is one of the effective strategies for improving quality scores.

By combining all of these factors you increase the probability for lowering your click cost and gaining higher ad placement.

How you use the negative or exclude keyword feature requires careful planning of your PPC campaigns. It falls back on the importance I stated in a prior posting. Before you start setting up your PPC campaigns, layout your structure and keyword strategy. Pinpoint the keywords that best represent what your target market is seeking when looking for your products or services.

Run some searches on any general keywords to see what other types of websites pop-up. View both the natural and paid search listings. Are any irrelevant to your business’s product or service?

Also use Google AdWords’ keyword tool and select from the “Choose data to display” drop down menu the “possible negative keyword” function. This provides some assistance in identifying variations of the keyword that you may not be aware of and certainly don’t want to target. Add these to your ad groups.

Careful planning and usage of the negative keyword feature (along with keyword selection and properly using matching options) will help you gain greater results from your pay-per-click marketing.

Have any questions about using the negative keyword feature? Post a comment!

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,,,, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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