So you’ve finished compiling lists of keywords, and have everything up and running on AdWords… Now what you want to do (if you haven’t done so already) is weed out as much bad traffic as possible. A simple way to do this is to add negative keywords to your account. The addition of negative keywords will significantly improve your click-through-rate (CTR) by weeding out irrelevant or uninterested traffic; now you will have a more concrete set of searchers, allowing for better chances of landing conversions.
Negative keywords can be added at either the campaign or the ad group level. If a negative word applies to all ad groups within a certain campaign, it is safe to add it at the campaign level. Here are 3 simple steps to get you started:
Step 1: Obvious Negatives
Obvious negative keywords are those that automatically come to mind when you think about the traffic you don’t want directed to your site. If you sell new cars, you may want to use words like “used” or “free” as negatives. If Joe searches for a used car and is directed to your site, the chances are high that he will abandon the site and look elsewhere since he had no luck finding any used cars on your site. In that example, you just paid for a click from Joe who wasn’t even interested in your product. If you had used the negative keywords, Joe wouldn’t have even seen your ad.
Step 2: Google Keyword Tool
Let Google help you. They offer a keyword tool that helps expand your keyword lists. You can also use this to develop a more thorough list of negative keywords. Where you choose match type at the top right, the drop down menu also includes “Negative” as a filter. You can use the tool’s suggestions as a guide or you can add them directly as negatives into the ad group.
Step 3: Monitor and Edit
Under the reporting tab in AdWords, there is a little something called the Search Query Report. Become its friend, and visit often. This report will show you what search queries are triggering your ad, and how much money you are spending because of that word/phrase. You will find words that you don’t want to be associated with, or that bring in irrelevant traffic. Make note and add those terms as negatives. You may also find queries that interest you, but may send the searcher to the wrong page on your site. You may find that a “leather handbags” query showed an ad that landed the searcher on your page devoted to canvas handbags. You can add “leather” as a negative keyword in your canvas handbag ad group to correctly direct traffic to the appropriate pages.
These are all very small steps that can be taken to ensure you are getting the best traffic. Even if you are succeeding at this already, you can further sculpt your campaigns and make sure every searcher that lands on your site goes to the most relevant landing page possible. Sculpting your campaigns is especially vital for large accounts to be successful. You need to be as lean as possible. For more information on expanding your negative keyword lists, you may be interested in what John has to offer.