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Negative Keywords

The Understudy to the Broad, Phrase and Exact Match Stars

One of the key performance indicators that pay-per-click advertisers monitor as part of reviewing the success of their overall account is the achievement of their individual keywords. They often report on, and boast about, their best performing keywords, and they usually come to the conclusion about which keywords are paramount by looking at the associated conversion rates and ROI dollar amounts. For the majority of advertisers keywords that bring in the most money hold a bigger place in their hearts. Knowing that to be the case, and understanding the financial reasoning behind that ranking system, I have to ask, what about the keywords that are saving advertisers money? Where do they place on best-performing-keyword lists? This is the constant challenge faced by the overshadowed groupings of negative keywords.

Negative keywords are the fourth and lesser hyped keyword match type. Just the name negative keyword has, well, a negative connotation. The fact of the matter is that negative keywords have, well, an extremely positive effect on pay-per-click campaigns. They may not directly correlate with an increase in ROI, but when used correctly they can save advertisers from overspending on non-relevant search terms. That savings can then be reallocated to advertising on the keywords that are bringing in the big bucks: the broad, phrase and exact match types. Along with the dollars saved from non-qualified clicks, your account’s quality score and click-through-rate will also receive a boost as a result of the work of the negative keyword.

Throughout my years of managing Google AdWords accounts I have noticed that the campaigns that make use of negative keywords outperform others. With the recent rise in popularity of Google’s Search Query Performance Report it is easy for users to understand why – this report allows AdWords advertisers to see the actual search terms that their keywords are triggered by. While this report can be surprising, and at times entertaining, it is an amazing tool to help AdWords users reform their keyword lists based on what searchers are searching for by not only adding new broad, phrase and exact match keywords, but by adding negative keywords too. After seeing some of the search terms in your accounts Search Query Performance Report you will undoubtedly add new negative keywords to your campaigns as well. This type of optimization will hopefully allow the overlooked negative keyword category to take its place on center stage with its counterparts.

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