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How to do Negative Keyword Research (Part 2)

After having explained why negative keywords are so important to a campaign, and how to do negative keyword research, this post will review how to add and optimize your negative keywords to be as precise as possible with your targeting. There are more advanced things you can do with negatives, and some ways you can research them not only based on the keyword tools’ estimations (ie average search volumes) but through the clicks you actually get on your ads:

“Photo: Bernat Casero

Researching negatives through reports

The search query report was recently voted the favorite report on the PPC blog PPC Hero. The main reason for this, is that it shows you exactly what was typed into Google to trigger your broad and phrase matched keywords, but this works both ways: If you see a keyword that isn’t relevant to your campaign in this search query report, then add it to your negatives. This is a great way to cut costs as well as filter out irrelevant traffic.

Now combine this with:

Using different match types for your negatives.

This is only currently available on Google, but watch out for MSN. It is unlikely Yahoo will roll out this feature due to their archaic keyword matching system.

Say you want your ad to appear when someone searches for anything related to cars. You add “car” to your campaign as a broad match keyword, and bid accordingly. But being a car manufacturer, you don’t want your ad to appear when someone types “car theft” – for branding reasons (although in my opinion, you should have an ad saying “the most secure car 4 years in a row” for adverse branding). Simply add “car theft” as an exact-match negative keyword to your campaign, and you will appear for “safe cars” but not for “car theft”.

Negative keywords have the same amount of matches as regular keywords (broad negative, phrase negative and exact negative) and can be updated just as easily. So when you think you have the best campaign in the world, just remember there always are opportunities to reduce your ROI, and negative keywords are one of them.

There are many other ways to use the negative match types against keywords in your campaign to refine where your ads appear, but I will leave it to you to discover how and why…

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1 Comment
  • Karl on March 16, 2010

    Great post Eloi. Thanks.

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