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Negative keywords

     
6:36 pm on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Do you recommend using negative keywords for ad groups? When is this neccessary?
7:44 pm on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes. All the time unless you only use Exact Match. You can search for negative keyword lists online for generic lists, or you should manually add them add keywords that are not particular to your product/service.

For example, if you don't have a free service or product, "free" should be a negative keyword. You can add these at the campaign level if you want it to affect all ad groups, or you can just add them at the ad group level.

Similarly, if you advertise a local business in Portland, Maine you would want to negative match "oregon", "or", and any other state that has a Portland.
8:17 pm on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I guarantee you'll get better productivity out of your AdWords dollars if you spend some time with a keyword research tool to identify words or phrases that ought to be blocked from your campaigns.

Many different things have some overlap in vocabulary, but there's little gain in showing your ads to searchers who are looking for the "wrong" thing.

Weeding out off-target impressions is the easiest way to improve your clickthrough rates. That will make your ads more competitive in the AdWords auction even without raising your bids. Your conversion rate will improve, too. What's not to like?
1:02 pm on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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it used to be much more difficult to add negs, you had to imagine what terms people might search for, that might be matched to your keywords. the AdWords interface provides much more info now, so you can go through the data and see search terms and build up your neg list right from that.

as you go through the search terms for an ad group, you can decide on a case by case basis if the neg ideas you get are meant to be a campaign or ad group neg. if your account structure is well built, the decision making process there is fairly simple as well.
2:10 pm on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I love negative keywords (and negative sites in the Content Network, for that matter) Have scads and scads of them. Every time I think I've seen it all, Google comes up with an even weirder broad match that I never even considered.

When you're using negatives, pay attention to whether you want them as campaign negatives or just ad group negatives.

Also, if you want to funnel the traffic for a set of keywords to a specific campaign or ad group, it's also helpful to add them as negatives to your *other* campaigns or ad groups, so you don't split the traffic.

Run the Search Query report to see what phrases your ads are really showing for, and there are also filters you can use in Google Analytics to ferret out keywords as well.

Managing negatives is really easy with the AdWords Editor as well.
2:50 am on May 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Also, if you want to funnel the traffic for a set of keywords to a specific campaign or ad group, it's also helpful to add them as negatives to your *other* campaigns or ad groups, so you don't split the traffic.


I don't want to sidetrack the thread but I'm big fan of doing this. Specifically, I set up my ad groups by theme/match type so that only like match types are grouped together. I then add exact and phrase negatives of each keyword in the Broad ad groups and exact negatives in the Phrase ad groups.

This obviously adds another layer of management but it allows me to specifically dictate to Google which keyword match type I want to trigger an ad for a given search query.
7:03 am on May 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Highly recommend using negative keywords in any circumstance, sparing exact match ofc. When used in conjunction with dynamic keywords on a broad match you can really get some great results. Like Tom and Jerry they're almost inseparable when trying to achieve maximum client appeal.

Needless to say you don't want to be selling fresh green apples to photoshop caffeine junkies.
5:24 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Similarly, if you advertise a local business in Portland, Maine you would want to negative match "oregon", "or", and any other state that has a Portland.


Let me say first that I'm not picking with PMTC's good advice - I realize the Portland scenario was just an example.

However, I see a classic case worth noting in that example where you can shoot yourself in the foot, as I've done from time to time.

While you indeed want to apply -keywords freely, sometimes you may have to absorb a few bad clicks/impressions rather than exclude too many potential good ones.

"or" is a good example.

No, the Maine widget retailer may not want Oregon folk, but will also miss queries like:

"widgets in portland maine or nearby"

"widgets for twenty dollars or less", etc.

People really do search with queries like that and some of your broad or phrase matches would pick them up.

I've learned not to jump too quickly and exclude a word based on a few instances if the word has more than one context. Because I've been there, done that.

Atun