What Are Negative Keywords - PPC | Reflect Digital

Negative keywords

Negative keywords are defined keywords or phrases that you do not wish your PPC ads to appear for.


Negative keywords

Negative keywords are a feature on paid advertising services, which can be used to ensure your ads do not appear when certain words are included in a search query. They can also be used to ensure your adverts do not display on particular websites. They ensure that your budget is not spent on keywords and placements that are not relevant to your business.

Why are negative keywords so important?

Negative keywords are an essential tool for paid marketers as they help ensure that PPC campaigns are delivering a good return on investment. This is because paid media campaigns cost money every time a user clicks, so it’s crucial your budget is being spent on the terms and placements that result in relevant clicks and conversions, and do not waste budget.

With negative keywords, PPC managers are able to select specific words and phrases, which their advert will not be displayed for. Advertisers can thus eliminate their listings from audiences who will simply drain their budget without making a conversion.

An example of this, which Google uses, is glasses. Say for example you have a business, which sells wine glasses and you are bidding on the term ‘glasses’. Users who make a search query for reading glasses may also be shown your ad. Even though they are looking for a completely different product, they will be shown your advert because it has a keyword in common with their query. As a result, your ad is displaying for an audience that has no real intent to interact with or purchase from your business.

Negative keywords give you the ability to select words or phrases, which your ad will not be displayed for. This eliminates the pool of users who will not convert, as they will not be shown the ad.

Using negative keywords can also increase click-through rate (CTR), reduce costs, and increase advert position, as you appear for queries more relevant to your ad.

How do negative keywords work?

Negative keywords can be used in two different ways. They can either be put in place for search or display ads. Negative keywords in search deal exclusively with the queries which people enter, whereas keywords across the Google Display Network deal with the websites where ads appear.

For search, marketers can implement three types of negative keywords. They are as follows:

  1. Broad match – The ad will not be shown if it contains all of the keywords specified, no matter what order they are in.
  2. Phrase match – The ad will not be shown if it contains all of the keywords in the same order that they are specified in
  3. Exact match – The ad will not be shown if it contains all of the keywords in the same order with no additional terms added into the query

For ads, which appear on the Google Display Network, the keyword system is a great deal simpler, with the number of negative keywords you can add being much lower. Another strategy for limiting where your ads can appear across the display network may be to exclude specific sites and categories. This ensures your ad does not appear on specific websites or website categories. 

What words should you prevent your advert appearing for?

The best way to check which keywords you should mark as negative is through Google's Keyword Planner. By doing in-depth keyword research, you can discover keyword variants you don’t want your ads appearing for.

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