Finding Negative Keywords

Finding Negative Keywords - Initial Project Screen

After loading your data into your Analysis, it’s time to find your Negative Keywords and start saving money on your Paid Ads.

Click on the “Find your Negative Keywords” button on the initial analysis screen. The screen where we’re going to work on your data is shown. Then click on the option “Find Negative Keywords” on the menu options on the left side of your screen.

Bob’s Keywords will then load your digested Search Query Report, and you can start finding new Negative Keywords. If you have loaded your Organic Searches, your current Keywords and your current Negative Keywords into the same analysis, Bob’s will also use these data to help you find your new Negative Keywords. You can load these other data into your analysis at any time.

After you click the “Find Negative Keywords” option, Bob’s Keywords will present you with a list of Search Query Terms that are potential Negative Keywords.

To select these potential Negative Keywords, Bob’s Keywords apply the Negative Keywords RulesRules are a very powerful way of defining what is a Negative Keyword Candidate. To understand Negative Keywords Rules, let’s concentrate on these sentences:

All search terms that are NOT WITHIN your rules are your trusted keywords, i.e., your Ads are being triggered by these search terms, and this is what you are expecting. >>> ALL FINE HERE.
Now, all search terms that are WITHIN your rules are considered Negative Keyword Candidates, and you don't want these terms triggering your Ads. >>> THIS IS OUR ALERT!!!

Initially, the default rule uses the Conversions metric (Conversions = 0). If there is no Conversions metric, the Conversion Rate metric is used (Conversion Rate = 0).

Assuming the default rule is applied, all Search Query Terms with no conversions are your Negative Keyword Candidates. They are shown with an orange background.

Bob’s Keywords also allows you to customize the Negative Keywords Rules to meet your criteria regarding what is a potential Negative Keyword. You can, for example, include the Impressions metric in your rules and consider only those terms with more than 1000 impressions, apart from the No Conversions. Your new rules are then:

Conversions = 0 AND Impressions > 1000

With the new rules, only search terms with no Conversions and more than 1000 Impressions are considered a potential Negative Keyword.

Click here to learn more about Negative Keywords Rules and how to customize them to enhance your Negative Keywords Analysis.

Now, let’s understand how Bob’s Keywords digested your data and how it is presented to you.

Understanding n-gram and search query term

The first column is the Search Query Term. Instead of showing all search phrases, Bob’s shows them to you digested into N-Grams (1-Gram, 2-Gram and 3-Gram). An N-Gram is a text pattern that may appear 1 to N times in your Search Query report.

Let’s take the phrase “Mary had a little lamb”. Bob’s Keywords would digest this phrase into the following 1, 2 and 3-Grams:

  • mary
  • had
  • little
  • lamb
  • mary had
  • had a
  • a little
  • little lamb
  • mary had a
  • had a little
  • a little lamb

Note that the term “a” is discarded as a 1-Gram. We discard terms with one letter only.

While digesting our Search Query Report, Bob’s Keywords Engine found the 3-Gram term “sunglasses for men” (previous image). The column PPC Phrase Count tells us this particular 3-Gram term is seen 46 times in our Search Query Report, which means that the term was used in 46 different paid searches.

As we loaded an Organic Searches report in this particular analysis, Bob’s Keywords found out that “sunglasses for men” occurred 26 times in that report (column Organic Phrase Count), which means that this specific 3-Gram term was used in 26 different organic searches (searches you did not pay for 😃).

Finding Negative Keywords - understanding all fields

Let’s have a look at the other columns and see what the calculations made by Bob’s Keywords tell us about “sunglasses for men”:

  • occurred in 46 different paid searches
  • occurred in 26 different organic searches
  • the search queries where this term occurs got 119744 impressions in total. In other words, the term “sunglasses for men” was present in 119744 impressions
  • the search queries where this term occurs got 114 clicks in total. In other words, the term “sunglasses for men” was present in 114 clicks
  • the average “Cost Per Click” for this term is $1.27
  • there was no conversion for this search term

After analysing the numbers, they are a solid indication that “sunglasses for men” is a Negative Keyword. There were 114 clicks, with an average cost of $1.27 and no conversions. These numbers mean that this keyword is making you waste money and that the search term is probably lowering the score of your Ads, as there were a high number of impressions (119744) and a low number of clicks (only 0.12% of the impressions resulted in a click).

To set the Search Term as a Negative Keyword, we can use one of the three first commands available at the right-side of each term.

Finding Negative Keywords - set keywords commands

For now, let’s choose Phrase Match for this new Negative Keyword. Later on this page, we will show you how you can better decide the Match Type.

We just need to click on the corresponding button, and Bob’s Keyword will then set the search term as a Negative Keyword and save it on a list for you. New Negative Keywords have a darker orange background and include the chosen Match Type.

Use the Revert button to revert a Search Query Term to its original state.

We discuss the Set the Keyword as Trusted option on another page. Click here to read more about it.

The following image shows “sunglasses for men” set as a Negative Keyword, using the Phrase Match notation.

Finding Negative Keywords

Based on your Search Query Report, Bob’s Keywords will also predict how much you may save when you start using the select Search Query Term as a Negative Keyword. You can see the Predicted Savings at the bottom of the screen.

How much you're going to save adding a new Negative Keyword

After choosing “sunglasses for men” as a Negative Keyword, we can use other tools available in Bob’s Keywords to find out if any other related terms are also Negative Keywords. Because no paid searches that include the keywords “sunglasses for men” resulted in conversions, there are probably more associated (or co-occurring) terms of interest we should look at.

The first tool we can use is the “Search Phrases Terms Inspection and Match Type Impact”.

Negative Keyword Candidates - Search Term Commands

We can use this tool for two things. First, we can check the impact for each Negative Keyword Match Type and check which paid search queries would be blocked. This feature helps you decide the best Match Type for your new Negative Keyword.

We can also view every search queries the term appears. We can do a simple search intent analysis and have a clearer idea of users intentions:

  • What are your potential customers looking for?
  • Do they want to buy something?
  • Are they doing an informational search?
  • Are they genuinely potential customers?

We can see some search queries for the term “sunglasses for men” on the following images.

Negative Keywords - Search Phrases and Match Type Impact
Negative Keywords - Search Phrases and Match Type Impact

Moving forward with our analysis, we now want to analyse the terms that co-occur with “sunglasses for men” as we will likely find terms that are strong Negative Keyword Candidates. Clicking on the 3rd icon (the chain icon) will show us all the co-occurring terms, and we can start analysing them.

Why do we do a co-occurring terms analysis? Although we already added “sunglasses for men” as a negative keyword, co-occurring terms can likely be used in searches that do not include our new negative keyword. Therefore, these searches won’t be blocked, still wasting part of your Ads budget. We still need to analyse them and decide if they will make our new Negative Keywords list.
Negative Keywords - Co-Occurring terms

Clicking on the co-occurring command show us a list of all keywords on all search queries “sunglasses for men” occur, including those that are not an immediate Negative Keyword Candidate. These non-candidates will have a white or blue-ish background.

Use the Keyword Status filter to update your current view, including or removing keywords regarding their status. Click on the “Apply Filters” button to reflect any changes to the filter options.

Co-occurring terms filter

Running through the list, we can see the term “cheap” and other text patterns that include it. The term “cheap” has some conversions, but “cheap sunglasses”, “cheap sunglasses for”, “cheap versace”, and “cheap versace sunglasses” has no conversions. Let’s add the 2-Gram terms (“cheap sunglasses” and “cheap versace”) to our new Negative Keywords List. There is no need to add the 3-Gram terms (“cheap sunglasses for” and “cheap versace sunglasses”) as the 2-Gram will cover them if we choose Phrase Match for our two new Negative Keywords.

If convenient, we can also add the term “cheap” as a negative keyword. It all depends on the context of the campaign/client.

co-occurring terms - cheap

We can then continue our analysis, looking for other terms with a high number of impressions or clicks, low or no conversions or any other “queries” you can make to your data.

Click on the column names to sort your data (press the keys CTRL+SHIFT+ALT from your keyboard to select up to 3 colunms) and use the filter options to narrow your view to help your analysis.

NEXT: Using Rules to Find Negative Keywords

Also check: