Keyword Planning: Creating Your List of Negative Words

By September 20, 2018 Digital Marketing
list of negative words

When the Google AdWords platform came out back in 2000, it only had a total of 350 customers.

Now, numerous businesses use it to boost their clicks and conversions. But few of these companies make a list of negative words even if it plays an important role in maximizing their AdWords campaign ROI.

Almost half of the companies that use this advertising platform don’t add any negative keyword every month. What this means is that they’re missing out on its benefits like maximizing their PPC spend’s effectiveness. A possible reason why people stay away from it is that these strategies often look like a lot of work to do.

Regardless, even for mobile ads, use negative keywords as a great opportunity to make good use of the money you spend. Here are some ways for you to start a negative keyword campaign:

Start With Queries

The negative keyword list comes in when you don’t want your ad showing up when the audience viewing it won’t show interest. Always think about the things that people will search about but not relate to the product or service you’re going to provide. That way, your ads don’t trigger when people search on Google using these keywords.

For example, if your company sells hard-copy calendars, you don’t want keywords such as “printable calendars” or “online calendars” to show your paid ads. As such, you need to include these phrases in your negative keyword list. Basically, you’re telling Google that such queries don’t relate to the business you have.

Doing this ensures that you don’t accumulate ad impressions for searches that won’t get you some sales or conversions. It isn’t enough to include one or two phrases in your negative keyword list–researching those using queries will give you some ideas.

Build Your Negative Word List Using Keyword Planners

Using the AdWords Keyword Planner isn’t intended to find phrases you can exclude. After all, it’s there to help you find the keywords you want to bid on. However, if you use it in a certain way, it becomes a powerful tool to scout out for ideas for your negative keyword list.

Let’s go back to our calendar example. When searching for the term “calendar,” you’ll see a big list of keywords that relate to your search. It also displays some information such as their search volume and the amount of possible competition you might encounter.

To make the AdWords Keyword Planner a tool for rooting out negative keywords, simply look at the terms on the list that don’t relate to your company. For example, the words “free” and “templates” don’t apply to the hardcopy calendar business, so it’s okay to exclude them.

Use Search Terms Report to Find Negative Keywords

These reports help you see the search queries made by people in Google that triggered your ads. When you gain enough expertise to understand the different types of search queries that made your ad appear, you can compile them. That allows you to separate them into your positive and negative keyword lists.

You can start sorting the results of the Search Terms Report based on its number of impressions. This helps you know the most popular search terms that make your ads trigger. Refine the data so you’ll know the terms that have high click-through and conversion rates.

After all, the keywords that you thought you’d work better with your company might not perform well. In this case, you might need to consider adding them to your negative keyword list. This is despite the fact that they seem related to your business and the products or services you offer.

Some businesses employ this as their only negative keyword strategy. However, it’s often not enough. There are more keyword strategies out there you can use–you need to get creative with it.

Always Be Creative

When creating lists of negative words, it’s important to have a lot of creativity. Keep in mind that the common psychology society discourages innovation, making it even more difficult to practice your creative spark. If you want to ensure that your AdWords find their mark, you’ll need to fight this uphill battle and use your ads every situation you can think of.

Using the same negative example with the calendar, you might have spent less money on PPC because of excluding the “Mayan calendar” from your positive keywords list. But there are a lot of other opportunities you’re wasting if it’s the only thing you do. After all, a keyword like “calendar girls” can mean a lot of things–a British movie, a comedy-drama, a song, or even risqu? content.

Regardless of user intent, they’re probably not interested in buying hardcopy calendars to spice up their kitchen or bedroom. That’s why, if you don’t include “calendar girls” in your negative keyword list, you’ll waste money.

Do Competitive Research for Negative Keywords

When you’re doing a Google search to scan your primary keywords, you might use this time to discover even more negative keywords to add to your list.

The first couple of pages in the search engine results page are information related to your search as per the Google algorithm. Look for the results that don’t relate to business transactions and add those terms to a negative keywords list.

Using the calendar example, you’ll see that in the first page of the search engine results page, there are search terms like “Gregorian calendar,” or “Space calendar” that aren’t related to the hardcopy calendars.

In this case, you can include them in the list and improve your savings, making your PPC campaign more manageable.

What are the Differences Between Campaign- and Adgroup-Level Negatives?

Keep in mind that there are two types of negative keywords. When you add a keyword to the campaign-level list, Google will never show any of your ads when people search using these keywords. An Adgroup-level list means that the search engine won’t display the ads in a particular adgroup.

You only use the former when you’re sure that you don’t want the negative keywords to show up in any given searches. The latter is more complicated because you use it as a protection for certain adgroups while controlling the chunks of the account server for the given search terms.

Types of Negative Keywords

When you’re doing search campaigns, you can use any of the three types of negative keywords: broad, exact, and phrase match. These negative keywords have different mechanics compared to their positive relatives. The main contrast is that negative keywords need synonyms, misspellings, and other close matches to ensure that the keywords you exclude have a big impact.

Negative Broad Match

This is the default setting for your negative keywords. For this type of keywords, the ad won’t appear if the search has all of the negative keyword terms, regardless of their order. The ad can still show up if the query doesn’t contain ALL the keyword terms you included.

For example, if you include the term “running shoes,” the ad shows up when people search for “red tennis shoes” or “running gear.” However, it won’t show up if all the terms get used in the search query, such as “red running shoes” or “shoes running.”

Negative Phrase Match

In this type of negative keyword, the ad will show as long as the words in the phrase aren’t in the same order. It might include other words, but the ad won’t appear if the terms used in the keyword get the same arrangement.

In the same example, the ad shows up as long as “running shoes” aren’t included in the same order. So if people search for the term “shoes running,” the ad will still appear.

Negative Exact Match

If you’re using this type of negative keyword, Google won’t show the ad only if the search has the exact keyword terms. What this means is that if the search has additional words and the order of the words get swapped, your ad will still show up.

Using the same phrase “running shoes,” the search will show your ad as long as people add more words to it like “red running shoes” and the like. If they search using “shoes running,” your ad will still show up.

Learn More What to Put on Your List of Negative Words Today!

Google is the biggest search engine in the world, with global revenue of $109.7 billion in 2017 alone. $95.4 billion of this was from advertising, so it’s safe to say that they’re very particular about their advertising mechanics.

If you want to save a lot of money in your PPC campaign, make sure to have a solid negative keyword strategy to filter out the otherwise useless phrases that people search.

Keep in mind that you need to choose these keywords after a lot of deliberation. After all, having too many negative keywords can lessen the reach of your ads. So it’s important to follow the tips mentioned above to ensure that you don’t indiscriminately add negative keywords that can help you get seen more.

Are you looking for more help with your list of negative words? In need of a more cohesive SEO strategy? Contact us today, and we’ll assist you.