Negative Keywords; what are they, and what are they for?

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In this article, you will learn what negative keywords are, and what they are for. You will see how to add negative keywords in Google Ads to improve the results of your advertising campaigns.
If you got here, you are looking to optimize your advertising campaigns in Google Ads, and negative keywords are essential to obtain better results.

Positive keywords

To understand negative keywords well, we must first understand what positive keywords are and how they work. Positive keywords help us tell Google which phrases or words should trigger our ads. We can also target those people who enter specific search terms in Google that tell us that they are potential customers.
For example, if we choose "dentist" as a positive keyword, all those searches who include the word dentist in their Google search may see the ad, considering that the other conditions of the configuration are met.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords help us to block your ad when someone includes these chosen negative words in their search terms. In short, they are words that prevent our ad from appearing.


What are they for?

Negative keywords help us to be more precise when showing our ads. Depending on what we want to block, we can add a single word or phrase as a negative keyword to have much greater control over what type of searches will activate the ads in Google.

Negative keywords help us optimize our campaign and improve performance based on the information we obtain over time. We can add as negative keywords all those phrases or words that, for one reason or another, are not working for us and leave only those that are bringing us results to the business.

First of all, negative keywords will help us exclude that audience that, although it is looking for something related to what we sell, is not exactly the product or service we are offering.

For example, we are advertising a security camera business, but we do not offer night vision cameras, then we can add night vision as a negative keyword. Although night vision is related to security cameras, we do not offer that type of camera because it is very unprofitable to sell and install them.
Another example would be with a campaign for blinds. We are looking to sell blinds, but we do not sell horizontal blinds, then we should add "horizontal" as a negative keyword. There is no point in promoting them when we do not have the product to offer you.

Advantages of adding negative keywords

The benefits of adding negative words are many. One of them is that the CTR increases; that is, we will receive more clicks in relation to our number of impressions, consequently reducing our cost per click.

We will not spend on clicks that will not bring us prospects or sales, but we will only pay for the traffic that really interests us and is totally related to our products or services. Negative keywords help us to eliminate all that junk traffic that generates spending.
The more negative words you can add to your campaigns, the greater your return on investment in advertising. A well-optimized campaign should include between 500 and 1,000 negative keywords, but these should not block potential customers.

When to use negative keywords?

When search terms that indicate otherwise. 

As I mentioned earlier, some search terms are related to what you are advertising but refer to something else, such as security cameras.

There are too many security cameras; however, you only sell security cameras for home or office. You do not sell high-tech cameras because there is not enough market for them. You don't even want to advertise with people who are looking for this type of product. We would add high-tech as a negative.

After a few months that you are running your advertising campaign in Google Ads, and you have received enough clicks and conversions, you will realize that there are some search terms that people use, but those are not bringing you benefits and customers to the business. So, in this case, you could consider adding these search terms as negative keywords so that you are not wasting money on something that is not working for you and better invest in the words that are converting better.

Very high cost per click

If in your results report you realize that some words are bringing conversions, but they are doing it at a very high cost, you could also add these terms or these words as negative.
For this, you must have a maximum cost that you are willing to pay for each client that contacts you. Everything above that limit will be negative ROI, and you will lose money for each client obtained.

Low performance (CTR or Conversion Rate)

Remember that to maintain a high level of quality; you must maintain a high CTR, which will consequently give you a lower cost for each click and conversion.
If you manage to identify some searches that receive many impressions but few clicks, that means either that you should improve your ad or add that type of search as negative.
If your ad appears a lot but receives few clicks, Google is losing money, and it penalizes you by making you pay more for each click.
If the terms that receive many impressions have a cost per conversion that is within what you are willing to pay, you should let your ads run and try to improve the text so that they are more attractive to the public.

Where do you get ideas for negative keywords?

Search terms

There are different ways to find negative keywords ideas. The main one is to analyze the search terms over a long period. In this report, we can find out how people have typed in Google so that our ad appears and that they have clicked. When you see these terms, you will realize that there are many searches that people do that refer to something totally different from what you are selling even when it includes positive keywords, or they are simply in a sale stage that indicates us they are not ready for purchase.
According to the results and statistics, we can add negative keywords that we see have deficient performance in terms of clicks or conversions. We may find words that receive many impressions and clicks, but few people communicate to our business through a phone call or by filling out the contact form. This step is important because we not only eliminate people looking for something else, but we also refine and obtain those search terms that cost us the least and leave us more benefit, eliminating those that cost us a lot.
It is essential in Google campaigns to be guided by the numbers, statistical results and not by what we believe or think is the right thing to do.

eLink Design is a national web design, application development, SEO, and business consulting firm, founded in 2001 that specializes in custom solutions for over 800 clients around the country. With this blog, we hope to provide insights into what we are working on, areas where we think we can help shed light on problems we hear, and sometimes just cool things we have come across.

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