Using Negative Keywords for More Precise Targeting

Adsbot Growth Team
Author
Negative Broad Match

Picking the right keywords for your Google Ads is important for a successful Google Ads campaign. But, there is something else as much important, and it’s weeding out the irrelevant keywords, especially if you have broad search terms that have the potential to lower your CTRs and conversions.

You probably won’t be happy with your ad showing to people looking for laptop computers if you are trying to sell desktop computers with your ad because it won’t generate clicks, thus conversions. This will lower your, Quality Score (QS), and you will burn money for no reason.

Using negative keywords effectively in your campaigns provides you with better targeting.

 

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are words or phrases that you want to exclude from your Google Ads campaigns to prevent your ad from appearing in irrelevant search results. It’s a kind of filter that can help you get more clicks and probably more paying customers to your landing page.

There are three types of negative keyword matches.

  1. Negative Broad Match
  2. Negative Phrase Match
  3. Negative Exact Match

And, there are three levels that you can use negative keywords.

  1. Account Level
  2. Campaign Level
  3. Ad Group Level

Negative keywords are one of the most ignored aspects of Google Ads campaigns if overspending is an issue. Most of the time, advertisers look anywhere but their negative keyword lists. It is of utmost importance to manage your negative keywords if you want to run more profitable ads.

Remember that it’s not a one time task. You need to monitor your keywords performances consistently to add more negative keywords to your list, which can contain up to 10,000 words or phrases. Be careful which match type and at which level you’re adding keywords to your lists because each type and each level will have different effects on your campaign. There is a chance to mess up things while you’re intentions are good.

Negative Broad Match

If you put a phrase with the negative broad match in a list, your ad won’t show in any combination of the searched words. Let’s say that you’re selling high-performing, not-so-cheap laptop computers, and you add “cheap laptops” as a negative broad match. Your ad won’t appear in any of the possible orders that contain these words. But, it won’t appear in search results for “cheap gaming laptops,” either. You decide whether you want your ad to show in this search or not because even the cheapest gaming laptop isn’t that cheap, and your products with the lowest prices might be below the searcher’s budget limit.

Negative Phrase Match

You can use the negative phrase match type for “cheap laptops” if you want your ad to appear in the “cheap gaming laptops” search. This type only restricts if the search queries have the exact phrase in the order you put in your list, but this time you won’t be able to reach your potential customers who search for “cheap laptops for gaming.”

Negative Exact Match

Negative exact match type eliminates only the exact search query, “cheap laptops” in our case, and doesn’t block “cheap gaming laptops” nor “cheap laptops for gaming.” Deciding which match type is best for your ad is one extent of your negative keyword lists, the other is deciding at which level you will use your list.

Account Level Negative Keywords

Account level negative keywords affect all campaigns you run. It’s like a universal rule for every ad you create within the same account. If you sell only laptops, you might want to block every search that’s related to desktop computers unless you have a campaign that targeted people who are looking for desktops but you want to change their minds. Bold move but not really recommended, and most likely, will fail.

Campaign Level Negative Keywords

Campaign level negative keywords are excluded in all of the ad groups you have within a campaign. Let’s assume that you have a campaign for your laptops, but there are two ad groups within the same campaign. One is for gaming laptops, the other is laptops for casual use and the prices of the products in the latter ad group are cheaper. If you add “cheap laptops” at a campaign level, you will lose some of your potential customers who are willing to pay for more expensive gaming laptops.

Ad Group Level Negative Keywords

When you have different ad groups within the same campaign, but there’s a risk of an adverse effect on one of your ad groups, it’s better to limit your negative keywords at an ad group level. So, you can put “cheap laptops” in your negative keywords list at this level for your ‘gaming laptops’ ad group if you don’t want the query to affect on ‘casual use laptops’ ad group.

 

How Do You Detect and Add Negative Keywords?

You can’t just sit down and brainstorm to find out which keywords cause you to lose money. You should keep track of keyword analyses of your accounts, campaigns, ad groups coherently, and it doesn’t end here. For a comprehensive negative keyword investigation, you should go to the ‘Keywords’ tab in the Google Ads UI at the account, campaign, or ad group level. You can see which keywords you’re bidding on, but not the queries that triggered them here. If you click ‘Search Terms’ in this menu and you will see the queries where you can see columns like Search Term, Match Type, and Added/Excluded.

  • Search Terms are queries that triggered the keywords you’re bidding on.
  • Match Type shows how the search query matched up with your keywords.
  • Added/Excluded column displays whether queries are added to your negative keyword lists or not.

To identify the negative keywords you should go over your search queries thoroughly and evaluate if the query has

  • a low CTR,
  • a low conversion rate,
  • a high cost per conversion.

After this step, you need to use filters to see how your keywords perform related to the queries. You can put in the metrics you care for, then decide which words should go to your negative keyword lists.

 

Spend Less, Win Big With Negative Keyword Lists

Google is some kind of monster when it comes to spending your money. That’s why it’s essential to pinpoint negative keywords, for which match type and at which level you should use them. A well managed negative keyword list will

  • improve your CTR,
  • increase your QS,
  • save money,
  • make money.

Sure, it’s a time-consuming and relatively hard task, but you will see the positive results of successful negative keyword management swiftly.


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