Negative keywords are known to invoke a bit of anxiety. However, when you select the right negative google ads keywords, you can have an even more successful PPC campaign. Don't neglect your negative keywords list; instead, learn how to hack negative keywords!
1. Include the Obvious
As you build your PPC negative Google ads keywords, think about what you aren't offering. For example, if you don't give away things for free, then "free" should be on your negative keyword list.
2. Save Time with Google’s Search Term Report
Technically the Google Search Terms report serves a different purpose, but that's the point here. Use this report to see what people searched and identify keywords that don't fit in with what you sell.
For example, if you sell software solutions for small business customer management, you will probably see that people searched for your primary keywords along with "school" or "jobs." Going through the report like this, you can reduce the chances of your ad generating on an unlikely to convert search result.
3. Utilise a Thesaurus Tool
Use a thesaurus tool, such as WordHippo and start to search for your primary keywords. What happens if you're using keywords that would spur completely irrelevant results?
In the US, carbonated soft drinks are sometimes referred to as “pop” or “soda”, and even in some places, referred to as “Coke”, even if it’s not Coca-Cola. So when Funko’s Pop figures became trendy, soda distributors had to take a closer look at their negative keyword lists to avoid spending money on irrelevant search intent. Pop is a common synonym for carbonated beverages in the US, but Funko, who sells little figurine toys, holds the top search result.
4. Use Your SEO Tools
Most content marketers, planners, or creators are familiar with free online tools such as SEMrush for finding their positive keywords. You can use these same tools to identify negative keywords.
Instead of searching for terms that are more specific to your content, search for very general terms. Then go through the phrase match and related keywords to build your list of keywords that you don’t want to generate an ad during a Google search.
For example, searching for “Furniture” brings up these related keywords, which wouldn’t seem to benefit any furniture store. So, furniture store owners could quickly add these words onto their list.
5. Segment Your Negative Keywords in Different Levels
Many people go wrong in handling their negative keyword list because they create the list first, and then decide what level the words work at for the campaign. Negative keywords can act on a broad, modified broad, or exact match.
Your broad-spectrum list will prevent an ad from generating when any variation of that negative keyword is present in a search. This list is where you want to put the really obvious things such as "free" or "delivery" if those are things you don't offer.
Your modified broad will likely be your longest negative keyword list. To see this in action, a sandwich shop featuring gyros doesn’t want to include “hero” on their broad list because it's a common misspelling for the sandwich. Instead, they might consist of "superhero" or "hero+hulk" on their modified broad list.
6. Search Your Positive Keywords
Trade computers with someone at work for a moment and start searching. You can quickly see which terms don’t fit in with your company and add them to your negative keyword list.
When searching for "bedding," you can see the relevant responses, but a few other keywords stick out. If your store doesn't offer "bohemian," or “rustic” then you can add those onto your exact match negative keyword list.
7. Create Lists for Group and Campaign Levels
Although it is easy to add keywords for your entire account, which simply don't apply, there are bound to be a few that only apply to specific groups. Companies trying to trigger ads for “solar roofing installation” might add “maintenance” to that group’s negative keyword list because it’s simply not relevant to that specific ad.
8. Use Your Funnel to Guide Your Keywords
Anyone who has different product lines needs to implement this tip. Again, on the group level, you can add negative keywords for ads based on your funnel. If a company sells accounting, human resource management, and customer relationship management software, then each one is a negative keyword on the other's lists.
9. Add Keywords Slowly
Usually, after an audit, companies will go negative keyword crazy. Then realize that they’re not generating any ads. Why? They added too many at once. Instead, analyse your results regularly; it's an essential aspect of PPC ad writing. Add a few negative keywords when appropriate.
10. Add Conversion-Killers
You may want to add in every possible non-converting phrase, but that can have a bit of a whiplash effect. People may search “mobile phone reviews” and then make a purchase later when it’s convenient. It’s important to note that they made their purchase decision from searching “mobile phone reviews.”
You can, however, add conversion killers. Conversion killers often include "rating," "yelp," and "Reddit." Now, if you know that you have great reviews on Yelp, then don't include it on your list of conversion killers.
Ultimately, identifying your conversion killers will take time, but they should ring true on the broad and campaign level, making the time you put in finding them well worth it.
About the Author
Founder & CEO of Market Ease Business Promotions, Binh has worked with, and advised, some of the largest national campaigns and biggest brands in Australia and around the world, including Hyundai Motor Company Australia, Subaru Australia, Etihad Stadium, yd., Tarocash, Connor, Cartridge World Australia, and the Australian Federal Government.