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How EXACTLY Do Negative Keywords Work?
Do negative keywords act like 'broad', 'phrase', or 'exact' keywords?
Presto

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 2:39 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is probably an easy one to answer but I was wondering how negative keywords actually work. I'm aware of the fact that negative keywords are used for filtering unwanted impressions due to extra words in search phrases which are irrelevent to the actual ad and content on the landing page. The thing that is confusing me is their behaviour. Do they act like 'broad', 'phrase', or 'exact' keywords?

For example, I am running a campaign for vacations in various place in Canada. If I had an ad group for 'Toronto' and I had keywords like Toronto Vacations, Toronto Tours, and Toronto Tourism, would putting a negative keyword such as -Maps of Toronto, would it filter out the word Toronto for every search or is it that EXACT negative keyword?

If this doesn't make sense then just comment on it and I'll try to explain it more effectively.

Thanks!

J

 

fischermx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 3:10 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just add "-maps", and so, when people look for "toronto maps", your ad will be filter.

Presto

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 4:39 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, I understand that but what I'm asking (which I probably didn't make quite clear) is if the word Toronto is added in ANY of my negative keywords, will it filter out other keywords I have bidded for which have the word Toronto in it?

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 5:09 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would not use a phrase in a negative keyword if I were you. In the example you give, strictly speaking the negative is behaving as broad match AND you have "of" in your negative phrase. That's a bad negative keyword!

However, we have been seeing weird things happening with negative keywords recently. We prefer to use the opposite approach of building up hundreds, nay thousands of exact match or phrase match phrases, but one large campaign is entirely based around four separate keywords, and then a few negative. Being advisors, we suggested that they seriously look at their negative list to see if they could increase them. Well... 4,000 negative words later we told them to stop. We culled the list down a bit and put them up.

We found people arriving with completely off the wall phrases. Google had taken to choosing synonyms that we could only disagree with. We have now made the four original words "phrase" match to try to eliminate this synonym approach. Will that work?

Presto

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 5:29 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, I should just stick to single word keywords for my negative keywords? Cause basically you're saying that any single word in a phrase that you place in a negative keyword is considered 'negative'. For example: In the negative keyword "-Glass of Water" the word glass ON ITS OWN is negative, the word of ON ITS OWN is negative and the word water ON ITS OWN is negative. Which in theory mean that you can have all your negative keywords in one long negative keyword.

I'm new to AdWords but I've done a lot of reading of forums and other sources which have been saying to keep the exact/phrase matching keys low and flood the campaign with negative keywords. I guess I'm going to follow the trend and do this.

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 5:57 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Presto,

I don't think that:

-w1 w2 w3

can be equvalent to:

-w1
-w2
-w3

else I am sure that I would get no traffic at all given some negative entries I made more-or-less by accident and didn't bother to remove...

Rgds

Damon

Presto

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 6:10 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK, so I have two seperate interptations here (nothing wrong with it. In fact, thank you for the quick response and help). Can anyone else confirm either of the two answers I have recieved?

UserFriendly

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 7:48 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you want to ignore a search that includes the phrase "maps of Toronto", such as "maps of Toronto city center", use the following:

-"maps of Toronto"

If you wanted to ignore someone who had typed "maps of Toronto" and nothing else into the search bar, then embedded matching seems to be the way to go:

-[maps of Toronto]

This is my interpretation of the advice in Google's AdWords Learning Center [google.com]. But I feel that the Learning Center could give more detailed examples.

I don't know what happens if you use the hyphen (negative sign) before several words without containing them in quote marks. So I'd avoid doing that.

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 10:51 pm on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

userfriendly seems to have it right. Personally, I'd stay away from the phrase.

Israel

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 1:00 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey!

While we're on the topic of negative keywords, here is something I've always wondered about. Perhaps I'm not the only one this might help.

Thought I saw once in an Adwords tutorial or similar where a negative kw could be associated with a single keyword as opposed to the entire Adgroup.

For instance, most of us now know we can have a keyword list like

gold widgets
[gold widgets]
"widgets in gold"
red widgets
"widgets in red"
..
..
-big

Because we have no big widgets.

---

However, is this legal?

keywords

gold widgets -big
red widgets
blue widgets

To exclude any searches looking for the "big gold" variety. Perhaps I have other widget keywords that are big, but not the gold variety, only the red & blue. Will that work?

Thanks!

Israel

xor0

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 5:48 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have 'hotels' as a negative kw and my kw 'hotel widget' shows fine. In my experience the negative kws are pretty precise. Are you sure the matching options work for negative kws? I thought not.

Richard Overvold

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 1:24 am on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

How about this... Lets just say I have...

widgets
red widgets
blue widgets
white widgets

and my negative keywords are...

[widgets]

Will any of my ads show? Or will only my single widgets keyword not show?

UserFriendly

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 2:25 pm on May 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I understand it, the following matches:

widgets
-[widgets]

will allow your ad to appear for the search "red widgets", "blue widgets" "widgets for sale", but will not return results for the exact search "widgets" (i.e. widgets being the only word in the search field).

This is based purely on what I've seen in the AdWords Learning Center.

poster_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 12:23 am on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

AWA - Can you please help to conclusively answer the OP's question?

Single-word negative keywords and exact negative keywords (single- and multi-word) both seem clear to all here, but is there any such thing as a 'phrase negative'?

If no, how specifically are multi-word broad negatives treated?

Thanks, AWA.

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 4:18 pm on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Userfriendly's correct imho in answering the original poster's question. The original poster should use "negative phrase of keywords" in quote if he wants to avoid the word of being a negative word. if the word of is anywhere in a negative without phrase (" ") or exact ( [] ) then you have just asked Google to dump anything containing of in the search.

Isael asks:
However, is this legal?

keywords

gold widgets -big
red widgets
blue widgets

To exclude any searches looking for the "big gold" variety. Perhaps I have other widget keywords that are big, but not the gold variety, only the red & blue. Will that work?

Don't do it that way. Instead, set up two adgroups (or more) one for gold widgets WITH the negative -big and one for the others without the neagtive -big

Israel

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 12:06 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for confirming that, Receptional

Personally, I believe in the KISS philosophy, works better for simple people like me. I've not found a need to get into the more exotic types of -keyword possibilities even though I have to make great use of negatives.

1) One never knows when Google may changes the rules, intentionally or unintenionally

2) Can we be sure that -"keyword phrase" is the only way they'll search for maps?

3) xor0 seems to have confirmed something that I've always suspected:

I have 'hotels' as a negative kw and my kw 'hotel widget' shows fine. In my experience the negative kws are pretty precise.

A simple -keyword at either Adgroup or Campaign level, though it appears broad actually seems to function as an exact match. Else xor0's -hotels would likely exclude the desired hotel.

If -keywords did act as broad matches, it would diminish their usefullness and I think we would have heard screaming here by now! After all, many times I'm using a -keyword to exclude a term that expanded broad match may come up with as a likely synomyn for portions of my keyword list.

So back to Presto, IMHO, your needs would be served by including

-map
-maps

and while you're thinking cap is on, add similar entries like

-directions
etc. and you should succeed in eliminating undesired searches.

While I apppreciate Receptional's expert confirmation of
-"phrase exclusions" being possible and workable, it can be a tricky business predicting with accuracy how the searcher will "phrase" the unwanted phrase.

Presumably, -"maps of toronto" will NOT exclude those whose search query is

"need a map of toronto"
"toronto map"
"map that shows toronto" and on and on

Personally, I think the single -keywords I noted above would probably work out better over the long haul to exclude those lost in Toronto.

Thanks all for the valuable education in this thread. Don't hesitate to correct if I'm off the mark on any of this!

Israel

poster_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 12:23 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't do it that way. Instead, set up two adgroups (or more) one for gold widgets WITH the negative -big and one for the others without the neagtive -big

Sometimes, groups are too large to make such granular changes.

What seems like a simple fix of "do it this way" for one situation still does not answer the main question of why broad negatives seem to act like exact negatives.

Once, this is clarified, we'll all be better off.

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 8:21 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think negative keywords ARE acting like exact when they are broad. Think about the original poster's example:

If I had an ad group for 'Toronto' and I had keywords like Toronto Vacations, Toronto Tours, and Toronto Tourism, would putting a negative keyword such as -Maps of Toronto, would it filter out the word Toronto for every search or is it that EXACT negative keyword?

He has a BROAD phrase, with the word toronto included, then he has included a broad negative -maps of toronto which means from his list of keyphrases, we exclude any also containing toronto - It is a null set, whenever the user mentions the word Toronto! He will, however, score when someone types in Tourism in Scandinavia.

Don't use multiple words in a negative broad match.

To get the official line - this is a quote from Google's printed reference manual (not the web):

If applied incorrectly, negative keywords can eliminate too much of your desired audience, so use them with caution. Negatives are applied at the Ad Group level, meaning that they apply to every keyword in the group. Make sure you don't duplicate a negative keyword in a broad, phrase, or exact matched keyword. If you do, the negative keyword will prevent the other options from working.

I'd say the last sentence was quite explicit from Google.

xor0

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 11:33 am on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have so-called broad matched negative keywords such as

widget air
widget bar
widget casino

in fact 24 negative kws consisting of 'widget' and one other word.

Then I have the keyword "widget" (that's phrase matched) that shows fine, getting hundreds of impressions every day.

So again, are you sure that matching options work for negative keywords? A quote from google saying this? Cos it sure seems like they don't.

eWhisper

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 12:10 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have 'hotels' as a negative kw and my kw 'hotel widget' shows fine.

This is pretty worrisome, as it's not how its been positioned by Google to work.

Is it possible that in that account there is another keyword that is being matched to that search phrase, and that the negative is working properly? (i.e. a keyword like 'motel' or another AdGroup with the word hotel in it).

Based upon how the new keyword tool has been positioned, using:
-maps of Toronto

should only stop someone searching for that phrase. It should not stop your ad from showing when someone searches for Toronto or of. While using -maps should stop all instances of your ad being triggered when the word 'maps' appears in any query.

The reference to -[maps] above is called the negative embedded match feature. It's very useful in a few select circumstances. How this feature should work is to have an AdGroup that looks like:

maps
-[maps]

And then, any search for just maps should not trigger your ad, while any search that contains the word maps and any other keyword will then show the ad.

Looks like a bit more research is required to make sure that the negatives are behaving properly. In my experience (and it's been a while since I tested it), using the negative keyword -hotel above was stopping all instances of that keyword being triggered - if that's changed, then it does need to be documented.

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 4:07 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK - I admit now - it needs AWA to law down the law :)

But... hotel widget -hotels works fine I guess. The word hotels does not appear in the word hotel

Xor's example is more confusing to me:
I have so-called broad matched negative keywords such as
widget air
widget bar
widget casino

in fact 24 negative kws consisting of 'widget' and one other word.

Then I have the keyword "widget" (that's phrase matched) that shows fine, getting hundreds of impressions every day.

I guess I can't disagree with what you say, because I would never set it up in that way. I would have done this by:
"widget"
-air
-bar
-casino

Which is what the manual seems to say to me.

eWhisper

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 4:31 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I missed the fact one was plural and the other singular. That would make a difference.

for an AdGroup:
widget hotels
-hotel

then the ad for widget hotels should show.

for the AdGroup:
widget hotel
-hotel

then the ad for widget hotel shouldn't show.

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 4:43 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

for an AdGroup:
widget hotels
-hotel

then the ad for widget hotels should show.

Are you sure? In that example, hotel IS a subset of hotels, so I'd expect the negative to cancel the advert nearly 100% of the time (except for that outrageous expanded broad match feature that I can't switch off anyway.)

xor0

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 6:23 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

quote:
I guess I can't disagree with what you say, because I would never set it up in that way. I would have done this by:
"widget"
-air
-bar
-casino

Which is what the manual seems to say to me.
:endquote

Then my kws containing 'casino' and 'bar' wouldn't show. Unless you mean to use a different adgroup for each kw, which is not pratical with 1000's of kws.

Anyone have evidence from their campaigns that negative keyword matching options work at all?

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 7:43 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Negative keywords individually definitely work: Content Network would be useless to me without.

Anything fancier than:

-w1
-w2
...
-wn

I do not know.

Rgds

Damon

AdWordsAdvisor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 8:33 pm on May 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK - I admit now - it needs AWA to law down the law :)

Oops. Missed this thread entirely until now, due to being kind of crazy-busy. I just scrolled down and saw my nic.

Haven't read the thread yet. I'll need some time to absorb what is being said/asked here - and see if I can't get an answer. To be honest, for the past few weeks I've been getting minutes a day to read and post here, as opposed to an hour or more previously.

I hope to figure out how to pump that back up soon. ;)

AWA

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 10:12 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

*bump*

Don't forget us AWA :)

poster_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 10:49 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

*bump* x 2

AdWordsAdvisor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 1:50 am on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

*bump*
Don't forget us AWA :)

*bump* x 2

First, the apology. I have certainly not forgotten - but neither have I found the time yet to really get into this thread, understand what is wanted, and run the info to earth. For this, you have my apology.

OK, now I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that my role here at AdWords has been evolving for the last year or so - and I am now in a better position than ever before to work with product decision makers - and pass feedback from this Forum along to just the right people.

The bad news is that my role here at AdWords has been evolving for the last year or so - and I now have less time than ever before to read and post on this Forum - leading me to address the questions that can be answered very quickly between other tasks, or which might help the most people.

That said:

* With very good luck, I'll be able address this thread Wednesday - but I am not able to promise it.

* I am looking into the possibility of arranging for a back-up AWA - a particularly valued colleague who would be a natural for this forum.

AWA

deep_alley

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8151 posted 7:25 am on May 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Firstly, I never knew there could be a phase match of negative keywords (-"keyword"). I was always under the impression that it was just -keyword and that there was embedded match with is -[keyword].

Secondly my understanding of negative keywords is on the lines of eWhispers. And I was very comfortably sitting thinking I know what I need to know but now I'm confused.

My assumption would be that -maps of Toronto would be taken as the phrase negative so when someoen types in 'maps of toronto' the ad would not show up. And not as -maps -of and -toronto.

I would though put -maps as my negative keyword unless you want words like 'maps around hotel xyz, toronto' or 'maps to get to xyz' etc

Also the embedded match work like eWhisper stated. So I have maps as a broad word and -[maps] as a exact negative. When someone types 'maps', my ad does not show up, but when sometimes 'maps of toronto', 'canada maps', 'world maps with continents only' etc, my ad shows up.

Thirdly -
Isreal, as far as I know you cant have negative keywords for only one keyword or a set of keywords unless those are all in the same groups. So putting down 'gold widgets -big' would actually according to me be your KEYWORD (not just gold widgets). Also if you have -big in your adgroup your ad wont show up for 'big red widgets'. I would have to agree that at the moment having a different ad group seems to be the only solution (to my knowledge)

Fourthly, I would like to know what effect negative kewyords have on content sites. Have writen to google a couple of times but have had unsatisfactory replies. Any help would be much appreciated.

This 51 message thread spans 2 pages: 51 ( [1] 2 > >
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