Using Negative Keywords In AdWords

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Google AdWords has a useful keyword tool called Negative Keywords, which give you the ability to tell Google not to show your ads when someone searches for such terms. This comes in handy when you want to advertise a product or service that has a similar name to something else. For example – if you would be advertising a keyword such as Acer Laptop with a match type of Broad, Google’s search algorithm may display your ad when a user searches for Laptop or Dell Laptop. While this may be a good idea in general, it may not make sense in terms of your ROI goals.

When & Why?

Here is an example of when you would want to use negative keywords:

If you advertise the keyword Apple iPhone as a Broad or Phrase Match term, your ad will show up when someone seaches for Repair Apple iPhone or Apple iPhone Cracked Screen. Now if you are only selling the product you don’t want to waste advertising dollars on keywords that will not drive buyers to your site. In order to stop this from happening you can add the following Negative keywords: Repair, Screen, Cracked etc… Now any time someone’s search query contains one of your negative terms, your ad will not be displayed.

Negative keywords also come in handy when you are advertising a product that has a name very similar to something else. Say you wanted to advertise the brand ThermaSol (manufacturer of steam/sauna generators), if you put a broad match term of ThermaSol your ad may be displayed when someone searches for completely irrelevant terms such as Thermisol (a vaccine). While this will bring extra visitors for your site it won’t help maximize your revenue, it will just cost you per click and bring visitors to your site that have no intention of purchasing a ThermaSol Steam Unit.

Negative Keywords & Match Types:

If you have a Broad Match term Robern Medicine Cabinet, and a Negative Broad Match term of Medicine Cabinet, they will cancel each other out and you ad will not be displayed. The same holds true if your Negative term is a Phrase Match, because the search term contains the exact Phrase. In this case you would want to put several variations of the Negative keyword as a Negative Exact by enclosing in in brackets (i.e. [Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinets], [Bathroom Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinet Mirror] etc…). While you do need to add more Negative keywords this way, you will reach a larger target audience and get more qualified traffic.

Bottom Line:

Use Negative keywords to properly filter the traffic that you are getting from your Broad Phrase Match terms. At the same time, it is imperative to remember to use Phrase and Exact Match terms when needed so as not to completely block your ad from showing to targeted visitors.

Image Credit: Ms. Danielle

What Are Google AdWords Match Types?

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Google offers several keyword match types to help you target your campaigns effectively. Currently you can use the following match types:

  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

What’s the difference, and how do I use them?

Broad Match:

Broad Match will get you the most impressions, clicks and the highest cost. In some cases this is a good thing, however when you are trying to maximize your ROI it may be detrimental. When you use a Broad Match keyword such as Nike Running Shoes, Google will try to match your ad to as many people searching for keywords that are similar to yours. So Google will show your ad to people searching for Nike Running Sneakers, Nike Sports Shoes, and also for more generic terms such as Running Shoes or Good For Running Shoes. If it is in your best interests not to have your ad display by such terms, you will want to make use of Negative Keywords as well as using other match types.

As in the above example, say I am advertising Nike Running Shoes, I only want people seeing my ad when they are searching for very similar terms. If I don’t want my ad to be displayed when people search for similar terms I can either add many negative match type terms such as Running Shoes, Reebok etc… This will block my ad from showing when someone searches for these terms. Negative keywords use match types as well so be careful not to use broad match terms that will exclude targeted traffic that you do want.

Phrase Match:

Phrase Match terms should be entered into AdWords surrounded by quotations (i.e. “search term”). When you use a Phrase match term, Google will only show your ad when the search query contains your search term in the same order that you entered it. If you used a search term “Nike Running Shoes”, your ad will likely show when someone searches for Good Nike Running, or Nike Running Shoes White as well. You will get much less traffic because of this so it is important that you add many variations of your search terms. You would want to add misspellings, singular and plural variations of your keywords. In addition it is a good idea to include your search terms in different orders (i.e. Nike Running Shoes and Running Shoes Nike). When you use Broad Match search terms Google’s algorithm does all this for you, but sometimes it goes farther than you’d want it to.

Exact Match:

Exact Match keywords should be enclosed in square brackets (i.e. [search term]). This is meant for extreme cases and is mostly used in conjunction with Phrase Match terms. A good example of when this is needed is when you would want your ad to come up for a specific phrase, but not for anything else. If you wanted your ad to be displayed when someone searches for [Robern Medicine Cabinet] only, you can use exact match to ensure that. However, this may not be ideal as it severely limits your reach. The best use for Exact Match keywords is using them as Negative Exact Match keywords in conjunction with Broad Match, and Phrase Match Terms.

I would suggest that for the best results, you try a mix of a few Broad Match terms and Phrase Match terms sprinkled with a healthy dose of Phrase and Exact Match Negatives.

UPDATE: New ‘Broad Match Modifier’ Match Type In AdWords

Hello E-Commerce World!

Hello Everyone. Well at this point it’s probably “Hello Noone”. Anyway, I digress… Here is the deal. I hope to blog about my experiences with E-Commerce. Over the past bunch of years I’ve been through a few different industries such as Electronics, Home Decor, Apparel etc… During this time I’ve gained expertise in many different areas of online retailing.

Here are a few topics, just to give you an idea of what I will be discussing:

  • Hosting¬†Providors
  • E-Commerce Platforms
    • What Language?
    • Open Source vs Closed Source
    • Hosted vs Self-Hosted
    • Required Features
  • Marketing Channels
    • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Affiliate Marketing
    • Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE)
    • Display Advertising
    • Email Marketing
  • Payment Processing
  • Customer Service

I don’t profess to know it all, the idea is to share what I’ve learnt.

FYI — My name is not Michael, but it’s a nice name anyway. Call me Michael J. Kaye.

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