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by Graeme Benge on 24th October 2012
I’m going to be talking to you today about the power of negative keyword thinking. Negative keywords now play an absolutely vital part of any AdWords campaign. Successfully incorporating negative keywords into your campaign is going to be able to deliver a much more efficient campaign and drive efficiencies across the board. This should take a lot of the KPIs that many marketing managers want to see.
So today we’re going to look at what negative keywords are and the power of them, the impact that they can have on a campaign, and we’ll touch upon as well a successful regime to start to incorporate this in your thinking as well as recommending some avenues that you can use to help make this an easier process. All of these ideas are essential for good PPC management.
So with negative keywords the first thing really to make sure you understand is that a negative keyword is a layer of data that you add to your AdWords campaign that prevents your adverts from being presented for a specific term. Now the upside of this is that there are branding gains to be had here and that you can ensure that your product or your service is not being represented by one of your adverts for a search query on a term that you don’t want to be associated with.
From an ROI point of view, the other gains here are that you should then see that the amount of impressions that your ads are getting should start to drop. You should then be reaching a much more qualified audience, which should then entail a click-through rate increase. If you then see a click- through rate increase once those people are onsite, the overall effect should then see a cost per acquisition decrease as well. So, effectively, you’re getting a much more targeted amount of traffic that is much more qualified and at the point that they should be able to buy or sign-up for your particular product or service.
The other indirect benefit of working hard on negative keywords is that you should see this help affect, in a positive way, your quality score, and as we all know, improvements to quality score have direct benefits to reducing your actual cost per click and also improving your position for the search being made by the user. So there is quite a spectrum of benefits to be had from taking a strategic approach to looking at negative keywords.
The best place to start with this, if you’re starting from scratch, is really to make this part of your jobs to do on a weekly basis. Every single week spend a little bit of time working on your negative keyword lists.
The best place to start here is the search query report that the AdWords console presents to you. It’s well worth looking at, perhaps looking at a period of the last 14 days or even the last month. This report should then show you all the terms that all of your ads have been presented for, and scanning through that you should then see terms that you don’t want to be seen for and maybe terms that you do want to be seen for. So there’s another benefit is that there might be some positive keywords that you can make the most of here.
Getting back to negatives, finding a number of negative keywords doing that scan, you should then be able to first of all upload those your AdWords campaign, either directly via the console or using the AdWords Editor. But I would take these and use a tool, perhaps like Google’s own Keyword Tool or any third party keyword tool, and use those seed words to find more related terms. What you should then see is your list starts to grow and grow and grow, and doing this on a weekly basis you should then get to a point where you have a very large list of keywords that your ads are not going to presented for.
As I say, what this should then mean is that the audience that is seeing your ads is that much more qualified, and the ROI implications of this are massive. So from now on, I want everyone to make sure that they are making negative keyword checks an element of what they’re doing.
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