The Importance of Negative Keywords in Paid Traffic
When running a successful paid advertising campaign on Google Ads or any other search engine platform, targeting the right keywords is one of the most important factors to consider. However, excluding the wrong ones is just as important as targeting the right keywords. These “wrong ones” are called Negative Keywords.
Negative keywords play a crucial role in any Paid Traffic campaign, as they help ensure that your ads reach the right audience and not waste ad spend on irrelevant traffic. By including negative keywords in your campaign, you can prevent your ads from showing up for search queries that are irrelevant to your business or product, which can help increase the effectiveness and ROI of your campaigns.
The importance of negative keywords
The use of negative keywords can have a significant impact on the performance of your paid advertising campaign as well as on the cost of your campaigns. Here are some of the key benefits of using negative keywords:
- Improving relevance: By excluding irrelevant search queries, negative keywords help improve your ads’ relevance. This means that your ads are more likely to appear to users actively searching for your products or services, which can increase the likelihood of them clicking on your ad and ultimately converting.
- Reducing costs: Negative keywords can also help to reduce your ad spend by preventing your ads from appearing for irrelevant search queries. This means you won’t have to pay for clicks that are unlikely to convert, which can help lower your overall ad costs.
- Increasing click-through rate: By improving the relevance of your ads, negative keywords can also help to increase your click-through rate (CTR). This is because users are likelier to click on an ad relevant to their search query.
It’s also important to regularly review and update your negative keyword list to ensure it remains effective. To keep your negative keywords list current, you must always be looking for new ones. The best way to keep your lists up-to-date is to analyse your Search Query Reports often because these reports will show you all relevant and irrelevant queries triggering your Paid Ads. These irrelevant queries will reveal your new negative keywords.
Keep in mind that users are constantly changing the way they do searches, so it is very likely new negative keywords will show up on your Search Query Reports every day.
How often you need to do this depends on the volume of searches. If you have a high volume of searches on your Search Query Report, 30,000 to 50,000 lines or more per week, you should analyse it at least once weekly. For lower volumes, like 10,000 to 50,000 lines per month, analysing your Search Query Report once or twice a month should be enough.
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How do search engines use negative keywords in your paid ads?
If you are paying to show your Ad on a search engine like Google or Microsoft Bing, you can add Negative keywords to your campaigns to prevent your ads from appearing for specific search queries. They exclude traffic that is unlikely to convert or may unnecessarily drive up your ad costs.
When you use a Negative keyword, you are basically saying to the search engine: please do not show my ad when this specific keyword or phrase is included in the search query.
Let’s say you run a website selling custom-made bicycles and want to create a Google Ads campaign to promote your products. You decide to target keywords such as “custom bicycles,” “handmade bicycles,” and “bespoke bicycles.”
However, you don’t want your ads to appear for search queries that include the word “kids,” as you only sell custom-made bicycles for adults. In this case, you can add “kids” as a negative keyword to your campaign.
By adding “kids” as a negative keyword to your campaign, your ads will not appear for search queries such as “custom bicycles for kids,” “handmade bicycles for kids,” or “bespoke bicycles for kids.” This will help ensure that your ads are only displayed to users interested in purchasing custom-made bicycles for adults, which can increase your ads’ relevance and improve your campaign’s performance.
Negative Keywords Match Types
When you add a new negative keyword to your Google Ads or Microsoft Bing campaign, it’s important to consider the match type that you want to use. There are three match types available for negative keywords, and each one has its level of specificity.
- Negative Broad Match: This is the default match type for negative keywords. With broad match negative keywords, your ads will not appear for any search query that includes any of the terms on your Negative Keyword. For example, if you add “free” as a broad match negative, your ads will not appear for searches such as “free delivery” or “free trial”.
- Negative Phrase Match: With Negative Phrase Match, your ads will not appear for search queries that contain the exact match of the keyword or phrase you specify. As the name suggests, you will use Negative Phrase Match for phrases you want to avoid. Search Engines will block searches that include your negative phrase in the exact order only. For example, if you add “free delivery” as a negative phrase match, your ads will not appear for any search queries that include the exact phrase “free delivery”. For example, your ads won’t show for searches like “free delivery pizza” or “supermarket with free delivery”. If the search is “delivery for free”, the Negative Phrase Match will not be applied.
- Negative Exact Match: With Negative Exact Match, your ads will not appear for search queries that are the exact phrase you specify, but may appear for searches that contain additional terms before or after the phrase. For example, if you add “free delivery” as a negative phrase match, your ads will still appear for searches such as “fast and free delivery”.
It is important to know that close variants DO NOT APPLY to Negative Keywords. For example, although “kids” and “toddlers” are considered close variants for searches, using “kids” as a negative keyword won’t block searches that include “toddlers”.
How Match types would affect some search queries:
|Match Type||Negative Keyword||Example Search Query||Result|
|Broad Match||free||download free software||Ad will not show|
|Broad Match||jobs||marketing jobs||Ad will not show|
|Broad Match||kids toys||toys for kids||Ad will not show|
|Broad Match||kids toys||kids toys||Ad will show|
|Broad Match||kids toys||toys for toddlers||Ad will show|
|Phrase Match||“how to”||how to bake a cake||Ad will not show|
|Phrase Match||“buy now”||buy now shoes||Ad will not show|
|Phrase Match||“buy now”||buy shoes near me||Ad will show|
|Phrase Match||“new car”||new electric car||Ad will show|
|Exact Match||[free download]||free download software||Ad will show|
|Exact Match||[job openings]||marketing job openings||Ad will show|
|Exact Match||[free accounting software]||free accounting software||Ad will not show|