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Stephen Logan

What Are Negative Keywords?

6th Jan 2010 Paid Search 2 minutes to read

What Are Negative Keywords?

When building a PPC campaign you need to factor in both keywords and negative keywords. Whilst keywords represent those search terms that you would like your adverts to appear for, negative keywords are quite the opposite.

Defining your negative keywords is vital to ensure that adverts don’t appear for any searches that aren’t appropriate to your website. The success of any PPC campaign is usually measured in its effectiveness in attracting targeted visitors with minimal outlay, therefore it is necessary to ensure that any advertisements are as focused as possible, remove any redundant terms that could be ruining the Click Through Rate (CTR).

When setting up your PPC advertising campaign you will be given the opportunity to write your ad text and define your landing page before adding your keywords. Whilst the keywords aren’t strictly essential, they should not be overlooked. Often your negative keywords won’t be evident until you have tested your adverts in a live environment, which is why it is so important to keep testing and refining campaigns.

In essence a negative keyword is any term that is related to the ad text but not relevant to your site itself. By including negative keywords you will ensure that your adverts don’t appear within search results pages that have little or nothing to do with your website.

An example of a negative keyword might include:

A sports equipment website might be have their adverts appear for the term ‘football tickets’. Whilst the site may sell football equipment, replica kits and other related products, they don’t sell tickets. Therefore to avoid the ads appearing for the aforementioned term, you would need to set ‘tickets’ as your negative keyword.

This of course can be spread over hundreds if not thousands of different terms, with some negatives being more obvious than others. As the campaign develops and matures you will be able to extract more irrelevant words and help to make sure that your adverts are only appearing for the most relevant searches.
 
By including negative keywords, along with your standard keywords, you can help make your PPC budget go much further. The more focused your campaign, the better it will perform and the higher your CTR ought to become. With PPC it isn’t just about gaining impressions, or even just generating clicks, it is about getting clicks from visitors who are likely to make a purchase or use your services.

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