How to use Negative Keywords to make your adwords campaigns more effective

I know you have worked your tails off on keywords analysis to make your PPC campaign a grand success. Sounds really impressive. So, I can assume that you have a long list of keywords that are supposed to trigger conversion. Ok, then let the campaign roll for a week and then please let me know how things are fairing. If I am not wholly incorrect, you will see strange things like your targeted audience is clicking on the ads but the problem is that there is no such improvement on the conversion front. And, you know why is this  happening? Cheer up mate, nothing that serious; the thing is you have missed out completely on negative keywords. If you are running an adwords campaign without setting the negative keywords first, you are clearly on a suicidal mission. So, here we are going to find a way how to find the right set of negative keywords without affecting the visibility of the adwords campaign negatively:

Search Keywords Report: It is bad but the thing is that people may not use exactly the same keywords that you have selected. They use weird combinations of key phrases, long tail keywords [sometimes the length can drive you nuts], and sometimes misspelled words to find your ads and then land on your website. To figure out which keywords visitors are actually typing to get to your website, you need to follow the process. Click on the campaign tab >> Then Click on the Keywords Tab >> Scroll down a bit and then click on the Keywords Detail option.

Select “All” from that option. However, Adwords need some data to be able to display any information. So make sure that you have selected “This Week” from the drop down menu:

Now, you will have all the data. Do not get shocked to see the data. Yes those are the phrases people are using to land on your website.

Clearly, complete wastage of your honest effort and hard earned money. First thing first, get all the data downloaded in CSV format:

The above screenshot shows some searches terms that are not related to the campaign. So people are searching with unrelated these terms and clicking on the ads and wasting our money. To stop this, we need to set these key phrases as “negative keywords” so that Adwords stop showing them when people make a search with those terms.

First we select those keywords that we wish to set as negative and then click on the Button – “Add As negative keyword”.

Once we set those keywords as negative, a red square box will appear against those search terms that are set as negative as illustrated in the below image –

So, we have done this finally. No more of our ads will appear against unrelated key phrases – thanks to the effort of Niladri Bose.

Ideas to generate Negative Keywords – But I do not really like  the idea of checking the Search Query tab and then figuring out irrelevant keywords that are costing us money. It would be great if we can create a list of negative keywords proactively; creating a probable list of negative keywords that can cost you money.

Try Google Keyword Research Tools – When you are making a search with a particular term for say – “Distance Learning” in Google Adwords Keyword Research tools, you need to find out those terms that are related but you wish to make your ads appear with those key phrases.  Selected are the key phrases that we do not wish to target because they belong to branded keywords of some other institutes –

In the negative keywords section, we can set the following terms as broad match –

SMU
IMT
Symbiosis
MIT
ICFAI
Sikkim Manipal University

So, search query containing any of the above mentioned term will not trigger our ads anymore.

Trending Topics: If you have set the key phrases as broad match, you need to keep a close eye on the trending topics because it might happen that some trending topics may match with the set keywords and people start clicking on the ads but bounce back immediately realizing the fact that it is not what they are looking for. So, make sure that you have excluded the terms as soon as they started gathering steam.

Deb Dulal Dey

Deb Dulal Dey is a Google Adwords certified Professional, content writer and organic web strategist. He has been into this search industry since 2008. Currently, he is into technical SEO documentation, conversation optimization, Google adwords and content writing. He loves contributing a lot to Google Webmaster Central forum and helping small business owners who are struggling with their online presence.

And oh, yes he is a great fan of One Direction and wish to be a hotshot affiliate marketer like Zac Johnson one day.

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