If you’re going to create compelling, creative banner ads or use Google Ads to put yourself at the top of search results, you need to know the basics. You want to ensure you’re spending your budget efficiently and effectively and maximizing everything you do on Google Ads. One key area of focus that many advertisers don’t necessarily understand is negative keywords, so we’re going to provide an overview below.
The Role of Keywords
When you’re using Google Ads, your keywords and phrases will make sure that your PPC ads are being seen by the people looking for products and services like your own. The right keywords can attract your audience of potential customers, improve your click-through rates and reduce your advertising costs.
Your keywords and phrases have to be very relevant and specific to what you offer. If someone types your keywords into Google, they should be searching for a business that’s just like yours.
The reason is that when people are clicking on your ad if it’s targeted and relevant, they’re going to be more likely to buy from you because they’re ready to do so.
As you’re selecting keywords, you want to be thoughtful. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, and consider the phrases and words they’d be most likely to type into Google.
It all needs to tie together in terms of relevance. You want your keywords to be very closely linked to the words of your PPC ad. That wording then needs to match the phrases and words you’re using on your landing page that your ads link back to.
Don’t use terms that are too general, and definitely don’t add keywords that generate a lot of traffic but aren’t closely related to your ad.
What Are Negative Keywords?
Google Ads functions like an auction. You bid on keywords so that your ad gets in front of a targeted audience. If your ad is relevant and the bid is right, you have a high chance of showing up in search results if you’re using search ads.
The same is true of display ads.
You’re paying when people click on your ads, but you want to prevent your ad from being shown to an audience that’s not interested.
Negative ads are things that you want to exclude from your campaign. These keywords let Google know what terms and keywords aren’t relevant to your business, so you’re not getting a lot of ad impressions that don’t lead to sales.
If you use negative keywords correctly, you’ll get better quality searches, and you can save your budget specifically for those.
There are two types of negative keywords, which you can add at the campaign level or the ad group level.
If you add them at the campaign level, what you’re telling Google Ads is not to show your ads for these keywords. If you add negative keywords at the ad group level, you’re indicating you don’t want your ads shown for these keywords in this specific ad group.
Ad group-level negative keywords can protect certain ad groups and give you control over the parts of the account that are serving for given terms on dumpor.
Finding Negative Keywords
With the Google Ads Keyword Planner, the goal is to help you find the keywords you need to bid on rather than the ones to exclude.
However, you can still use it for negative keywords.
You can use the keyword planner to look for keywords, and then when you see related searches, you might be able to figure out what doesn’t apply to your business.
The Search Terms Report is a tool to see the actual queries people typed into Google triggering your ads.
With the Search Terms Report, you can put together lists of positive and also negative keywords.
Beyond the Search Terms Report, it will help you stretch your ad budget further if you can be more creative in creating your negative keywords list.
One way to do more in-depth research is to do a Google search for your primary keywords. If you see anything that isn’t transactional on the first few pages of Google, maybe you add those to your negative keywords list.
The primary goal is to look for search terms similar to yours but that you could see catering to people searching for something else.
Glasses are a good example. Maybe you have a business selling glasses for tableware, like wine glasses. You don’t want people to click on your ads thinking you sell eyeglasses.
As part of your strategy, you do need to be careful about using negative keywords. While they’re important to exclude, you run the risk of your ads reaching fewer people if you exclude too many. You also have to remember that these keywords don’t match close variants, so your ad could still end up showing on searches or pages with close variations of negative terms.
Adding Negative Keywords
Once you have a list of negative keywords, you’ll need to add them to your search and display network campaigns.
Negative keywords aren’t as precise for the display network as for the search network, and your ad could still potentially show on pages with the terms. For display ads, you can add up to 5,000 negative keywords.
When you sign in to your Google Ads account, you can go to Keywords and Targeting. From there, choose Keywords, Negative.
Add negative keywords, and choose whether you’re going to do them at the campaign or ad group level. If asked, you choose the destination for the new negative keyword. You can then enter it into your edit panel.
You can’t ad campaign and ad group negative keywords simultaneously using the “Make Multiple Changes” tool. Finally, you have to choose which you’re going to add, and from there, you can make multiple changes by typing or pasting your keywords into the grid. You’ll then click “Process,” and you can finish and review the changes.