Negative Keywords: Important Things Marketing Execs Need to Know


Managing your paid search channel is a full time job, which is why you’ve hired an agency to help out. But just because you’ve outsourced this valued channel doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep up with how your agency is managing your channels. One thing you’re definitely going to hear a lot about (if you haven’t already) are ‘negative’ keywords. The idea seems simple, but there are two main ideas behind the use of negatives that are important to understand.

1.  Utilization of Negative Keywords Reduces Costly, Irrelevant Click-Throughs

The core idea behind negative keywords is to prevent your ads from showing when users search for something that is not relevant to your business. This can help you save money on costly clicks from visitors that will never convert. It can also improve the quality of the your ad campaigns by increasing your click through rates (CTR), in turn leading to higher quality scores for your relevant keywords and lowering your costs-per-click. Add in some good negative keywords and suddenly you’re getting higher quality traffic at a lower cost.

2.  Negative Keywords Help to Keep Your Adwords Account Organized

If you have several similar products or services, you may need to break out your ad campaigns. For example, if you sell shoes, you may have both blue shoes and red shoes available. A good paid search agency would segment types of shoes into their  own ad group, so searches would  would look something like this:

Each ad group targets a different color of the product, and the negatives prevent the ads from showing for searches that include those terms (known as “cross serving”). This keeps searches for “blue shoes” displaying a blue shoes themed ad with the relevant accompanying landing page, and doesn’t waste a click on someone who wants “red” shoes (or red boots, blue boots, red sandals, etc.) This way you can be sure that the ad groups are as specifically targeted as possible.

It’s important to ensure you’re properly managing relevant keywords as well as costly negative keywords. Is your agency managing your campaigns appropriately?

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