Paid Search: It’s Not Just About Keywords

A great paid search campaign can really drive your business. But building campaigns, identifying ad groups, and developing keywords is just part of it.

You’ll also need to integrate a negative keyword strategy.

If you don’t have one, it might be the reason that your paid ads are falling flat.

You see, it’s not just all about optimizing the keywords you DO use in the campaign.

Success largely depends on negative keywords, too.

Don’t feel bad if you’re wondering, “what are negative keywords?” Many businesses fail to take them into account.

But if you spend just as much time building this list as you do your keywords list, you’ll see a huge ROI.

What are negative keywords?

Simply put, negative keywords prevent your online ads from displaying for particular keyword phrases.

Here’s how an AdWords campaigns works:

Much like an auction, your business bids on keywords in order to get your ad in front of customers.

If the ad is relevant to the audience and the bid is good, you’ll increase the odds of appearing in search results.

That’s what it’s all about.

Negative keywords, however, stop your ad from showing up in front of the audience that does NOT care about your products or services.

Let me show you a couple of examples of negative keywords in action.

Example 1

Let’s say your business sells bathroom remodeling services. Your keywords will focus on the term “bathroom” and hopefully appear on search pages when people are looking for design ideas in general and specific materials like cabinetry, flooring or plumbing fixtures.

But what if people are looking for “bathroom remodeling jobs?” You don’t want to be included in these searches.

In short, negative keywords help Google know when a search query doesn’t apply to your business.

That way, you can limit the ad impressions for these kinds of searches. And that’s important because they will never lead to a sale.

Example 2

Not all people search for the term “remodeling.” To some, it makes perfect sense to search for “home improvement.” But let me ask you, do you remember the popular TV show “Home Improvement” featuring Tim Taylor?

You know know where I’m going with this right?

As you can see, negative keywords play a big role in ensuring your ad is served to the correct eyeballs, and they will save you big bucks in the end.

How to create a negative keyword list

It pays to do extensive research when finding negative keywords. And there are a few different ways to build your list.

  1. Create a list. For example, if your business offers high-end services, your negative keyword list should include terms like “jobs, pictures, tv shows, magazines.”
  2. Use the search query report. The AdWords search query report will show you the searches that are currently triggered by your ad. Look carefully through the report and identify irrelevant searches and terms. Add them to your list.
  3. Turn to the Keyword Planner. Another great tool to use when searching for negative keywords, the Keyword Planner lets you build a list of related and common keywords. Generate your list and then look for negative keywords.

With an effective strategy for generating keywords and negative keywords, your paid search campaigns will soar — and build a business you can bank on.