Negative keywords

Negative keywords are words that cause a PPC ad not to be shown. These are words that can be associated 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 negative 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 improving 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.

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