Negative Keywords: Doing the Dirty Work
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My next topic is the little known hero of search engine marketing, the little guy in the trenches, doing a lot of the dirty work, and not getting any respect. It’s a lot like a plumber. You call him in to clean a mess that you created and don’t want to deal with. This quiet warrior is the negative keyword.
Now I know the first thing you’re thinking is: what the heck is a negative keyword? Well, to reference a comic book, Spiderman had an opposite, equally powerful opponent called Venom. He is often referred to as the evil Spiderman. Your regular keywords are like Spiderman, who is there to help you save the day, while Venom repels away irrelevant searches and hones your traffic more efficiently.
Negative keywords function as a barrier against irrelevant traffic from reaching your site and costing you money on clicks. I often believe that negative keywords are essential to add to your campaign in order to make your clicks as useful as possible. Many times our advertisers choose relevant but highly broad concept keywords. These do provide a decent amount of searches, but since the keyword is broad, you will receive all kinds of searches. If you choose words like “website” for a domain name registration site, or “sun” for a skin care treatment site, you will get a great many clicks that 1) will not produce a sale, and 2) cost you money for a fruitless click.
You can use these words if you choose, but temper them with negative keywords. For example, in the last example, by adding “sun,” you might consider adding negative keywords that may be connected with sun. There are concepts like “outer space” that you could add. There are several American newspapers with “sun” in the title, like Chicago Sun Times or the Jacksonville Sun. The Phoenix Suns are an NBA team that may bring clicks to your site. There are bands, astrology, vacation spots, and food products that may bring clicks to your site that are entirely irrelevant. So when you first choose your keywords, choose keywords that are relevant, and also keep in mind concepts that may be closely related to them.
One way to determine negative keywords through 7search tools is by using our Keyword Suggestion tool. As you enter possibilities for keywords, and choose from the returned results, look at the other options that come up. Are there any closely related keywords that may be connected to your keywords? Would this keyword appear in your searched term results? If so, add it. It can help to maintain the integrity of your campaign, and protect your budget.
Another option to find ideas for negative keywords is under your Reports tab in your advertiser page. Click on that, and it will take you to the Reports page. Here, look for Keywords report. This is a breakdown of all the keywords that received clicks. You can then click on the keyword to examine the searched term that was connected to that keyword. Using the “sun” example, here is a snapshot of what you would see:
As you can see, the searches are to the right. Look at the terms received, and pick out the words that make that search irrelevant, like “Edmonton,” or “Vancouver.”
More importantly, you can use this feature to determine if this is even a good keyword for you. If it is costing you more to have than what it is bringing to you, then you should probably delete it.
To add negative keywords to your campaign, go into your campaign, and look for Negative Keywords in blue. Click on this, and the negative keywords box will appear. You can type the words in, or cut and paste. Hit save, and you are set. Each account has a limit of 100. The keyword should almost immediately start to block searches for these terms from reaching you.
It really is a silent warrior, because it exists out-of-sight, and out-of-mind. If it works properly, you should not even notice the effect. It’s doing its dirty work. So take some time to add this feature to your campaign. You’re allowed to call in the plumber.