Negative keywords are words that cause a PPC ad not to be shown. These are words that can be asso-
ciated with the topic that you’re targeting, but not with the specific product or service that you’re
advertising. For example, if your web site sells traditional Christian music, it’s not likely that you’ll
want your ad to show for people who are looking for rock, pop, blues, or rap music. You can use
those words as negative keywords to reduce the number of times that your PPC ad is shown.
Some PPC providers actually have a negative keyword tool that makes it easy for you to add negative
keywords to your PPC campaigns. If your PPC provider doesn’t have such a tool, you can add neg-
ative keywords to your keyword lists by placing a negative (-) sign in front of them. Using the music
example, then, your negative keyword list might look something like this:
Negative keywords should result in better qualified traffic from your PPC ads. But some people are
concerned that negative keywords can have an adverse effect on their PPC campaigns because they
do reduce traffic from the ads. If your main purpose for having a PPC campaign is to gain exposure
for your web site, then yes, negative keywords could have an adverse effect. If, however, the purpose
of your keyword advertisements is to increase the amount of qualified traffic and conversions, then
negative keywords are a great strategy to help reduce the cost of your PPC campaign while improv-
ing the quality of your clicks.
Finding negative keywords adds another dimension to creating your keyword lists. You must be
careful when using negative keywords in keyword groups. You want to choose negative keywords
that won’t affect other PPC ads within the keyword groups that you’re using.
The most obvious place to begin looking for negative keywords is within your keyword list. If you’re
brainstorming keywords, you’re likely to come up with some that don’t apply to your products and
services, but that could trigger your ad being shown. You can also use a keyword suggestion tool to
suggest the different keywords and phrases associated with your products and services. Negative
keywords will usually appear all over the lists that are suggested by these tools.
It’s possible to go overboard with negative keywords. Don’t include so many negative keywords
that your ads are never shown. Just use them when the keywords that could trigger your ad truly
are unrelated to your products and services.
One of the most effective methods of reducing the cost of your PPC campaign is to target your cam-
paign to the most effective times of day or days of the week. Called dayparting, this strategy requires
that you monitor your PPC campaigns to know what days and hours of the day your campaigns
perform the best.
Managing Keyword and PPC Campaigns
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