If you are a business using digital marketing to grow, you may be using Google Ads or another paid search platform such as BING, to drive leads to your website. You may be trying it yourself (living on the edge!), or using an agency or specialist to run them for you.

Pay per click search channels are fab channels to use, as many users start with the intent to buy and are trying to find you. But it can be expensive and drive the wrong leads, if not used in the right way.
Adding negative keywords is one of the most easy-as ways to optimize your PPC campaigns and up your game. If your ads are showing for searches that aren’t converting, simply put, you’re paying for clicks you don’t need to. The click-through rate will be lower for these types of terms, which means your Quality Score is going to nose-dive.
In this hack, we are going to talk all the what’s, whys and how’s relating to negative keywords. What they are, why and when you should use them, and how to set them up. Let’s begin!

What are they?

The big G defines them as a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. If you add your Negative Keyword List to Google, your ads aren’t shown to anyone who is searching for those phrases. This is also known as a negative match.
For example, when you add “free” as a negative keyword to your campaign or ad group, you tell Google Ads not to show your ad to any search containing the term “free”.
On the Display Network, your ad is less likely to appear on a site, when your negative keywords match the site’s content.

Why and when do you need them?

If you find a term that isn’t converting well, that you’d like to make sure your ad doesn’t show up for anymore, you might want to try adding negative keywords.
Let’s say you’re bidding on women’s shoes as a broad match keyword and find out that your ad is being shown for children’s shoes, in addition to women’s shoes, but your products are intended only for women, not children. This means you’re paying for some clicks that will never convert, something nobody wants to do.
This is when you’d want to add “children” and “kids” as negative keywords, so your ads will no longer show for those results.

How do you use them?

It’s super simple. To add them takes less than two minutes in Google Ads, login to AdWords, click on “Keywords” and scroll down to the bottom of the keyword list and click on “Negative Keywords.” You’ll be able to add negative keywords at both campaign and ad group levels. If you don’t want the keyword used in any ad group, then it needs to be added at the campaign level. Easy.

The hardest part is working out what your negative words should be, which will look different to every business/org or non-profit. One way to start is to go to AdWords, click on “Keywords” then ‘Search terms’ and scroll down the list at what terms might be irrelevant then exclude them. It helps to sort by an vital metric like cost/conversion, to see what are performing sub-par, as the list might be uber long and yawn inducing… so start with the quick wins! Any Google Ads manager worth their salt will spend some time on getting this list right, regularly.

We have seen some ace results for many of our clients, delivering good efficiencies include cost of acquisition with paid search. If you’re need help getting started or want us to let you know if we think Google Ads is a good fit for your business, contact us at hello@thebrandarchitect.com.au