Using Universal Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are essentially the opposite of a keyword. Sort of like an antikeyword that prevents your PPC ad from generating impressions. This may seem like a neat yet like a far flung notion especially in lieu of all this emphasis on the PPC Long Tail, but hear me out…

Paid search in most cases isn’t about quantity but rather quality. Without embarking on a thesis regarding keyword match type selection, we can still have an effective discussion about negative keywords by simply looking at the basic decision cycle of the would be searcher that may or may not convert to a customer or interested lead. This discussion will be brief and make 2 assumptions.

  1. You sell a product and prefer to minimize product returns and restocking costs, shipping debacles, etc..
  2. You want leads qualified enough that a reasonable % of them will ultimately convert into a client, not a long list of people with a questionnaire in hand scoping out you and the competition.
  3. You don’t offer free samples or trials, or rely heavily on money back guarantees.

With that said you can either upload the file provided or simply copy and paste this list into your campaign negative keywords settings page, located within the campaign summary page is we’re within the AdWords interface. Yahoo and adCenter are a bit different but the same concept applies. Once again, this is a starting point…I will be discussing best practices using negative keywords in a future post. For now simply upload the list and begin to disqualify searchers, thus improving your conversion rate, and click through rate thus bolstering your quality score and effectively lowering your CPC (cost per click).

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There is also a feature within Google AdWords that allows you to add match types to negative keywords…let’s preview this really quickly but return to it in greater detail next post. Say you sell ring tones through pay per click marketing and other forms of affiliate marketing. Assuming you have a huge selection, perhaps 30% of your budget goes to the broad match term (more on match types soon) Ring Tones. Now further imagine that about 25% of people out there are looking for free ringtones and they’ll sacrifice their personal info for it.

Apply the following convention to free ring tone.

  1. It’s a negative keyword, free
  2. Also use -[free ring tone], -[free ring tones] to be sure that you will never come up for the exact match query, free ring tone although you bid on ring tone or variants of ring tone.
  3. Further if you have many types of ring tones, try the phrase match negative -“free ring tone” so anything before it in the search query such as 50 cent free ring tone, or hip hop free ring tone won’t trigger your ad. Your broad match term Ring Tones may not show, but take a few seconds and do your diligence to protect your budget!

If you have any more universal negatives, please download the document and send it back to:

Universal Negative Keywords – doc. here |Thanks Greg L and Lee G!


paid search expert, sitecatalyst/omniture consultant, professional search engine optimization

Posted in Keyword Match Types, Negative Keywords, Using Negative Keywords
One comment on “Using Universal Negative Keywords
  1. Lunch Bags says:

    ~:, that seems to be a great topic, i really love it ,`*


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