What Are Negative Keywords and How to Use Them in PPC Ad Campaigns

negative keywords

Digital marketers new to pay-per-click advertising often ask, “what are negative keywords?” This guide by Pure Digital Marketing, Tampa’s digital marketing experts, answers that question and how to effectively use negative keywords in PPC. Grow your business with negative keyword tips from experts on pay-per-click management in Tampa.

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are specific search terms that you don’t want your ad to appear in the search results for. They save PPC campaigns money by filtering out terms that seem related to the primary topic yet don’t fall in line with the advertised product or service.  

By adding negative keywords to a campaign, advertisers avoid paying for irrelevant clicks that won’t convert to sales. Consumers also benefit by receiving the correct information for niche subjects in their search queries. 

For example, say you create an ad campaign about selling prescription reading glasses. Consumers who type “custom glasses” in the search query could find your ad even though their intention was to search for custom wine glasses, not eyeglasses. 

Establishing appropriate negative keywords can avoid this confusion and narrow your online audience to those who are only searching for your exact product or service. 

Types of Negative Keywords

Three different types of negative keywords exist to place your ad on only the most specific searches:

  • Negative broad match keywords: These are general search terms you wish to hide your ad from appearing in. Ex. “glasses” for an ad about “reading glasses.”
  • Negative phrase match keywords: These are entire phrases that your ad won’t appear in results for, regardless of other terms appearing in the search. Ex. “personalized glasses” will block your ad from popping up in a search for “personalized glasses for wine lovers.”
  • Negative exact match keywords: These phrases block your ad when consumers use the exact words in order without additional terms. Ex. “personalized glasses” with no other terms blocks your reading glasses ad.

Google Ad campaigns allow only three symbols in their negative keywords. You may include an asterisk, ampersand, and accent mark. All other symbols or special characters are not permitted in valid keywords. Establishing a variety of these negative keywords within your ads to generate clicks from the most relevant searches.

How to Choose Negative Keywords

Helpful online marketing tools like Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, and Soovle can help you create a list of potential negative keywords. You can also type in a quick Google search of terms related to your business and take note of the ads that appear in the results.

Once you establish a list of possible negative keywords to include in your ad campaign, evaluate each one and its effect on your ad. Experts suggest determining if your ad appears in searches for unrelated products, services, or topics (think back to the reading glasses example). If it does, mark the keyword in question as negative.

Wise pay-per-click ad specialists also shy away from placing their ads in searches about major retailers or brands. It never hurts to create a negative keyword for competing brands in your industry, as it eliminates the cost of clicks intending to buy from a specific brand or business.

Evaluate search terms that are too vague. General terms do receive high search traffic, but when you target a specific item in searches, you narrow down the audience to those more serious about buying a certain product. Thinking about the reading glasses example, you may opt to make that a negative keyword in favor of more specific search terms such as “bifocal readers” or “fully magnified readers.”

Taking time to evaluate all potential keywords and how they can improve your PPC campaigns can make your ads more profitable. 

How to Add Negative Keywords

Google Adwords provides a simple-to-follow platform for adding negative keywords. You can sort each keyword into ad groups, whole campaigns, and a standard negative keyword list. 

Trust Pure Digital Marketing with Your PPC Needs

Understanding what negative keywords are and how they limit ad placement to specific searches can drastically improve your PPC campaigns’ return on investment. When you need expertise getting your campaign off the ground and into the right customers’ hands, turn to the Pure Digital Marketing team.

The skilled professionals at Pure Digital Marketing can answer the question, “What are negative keywords?”, explain different types of SEO keywords, and provide assistance in all your online marketing needs. Contact Pure Digital Marketing to get started today.