Negative keywords is a way to refine your targeting on all of your Google AdWords campaigns (Search, Display, YouTube, Shopping and Mobile-App) that will exclude a specific audience or user.
When adding negative keywords to Search and Shopping campaigns, you’ll prevent your ads from showing to users who includes a specific word in their search query. For example, if you add “jobs” as a negative keyword to your campaign, ads won’t show up for job seekers. For example, ads for “drywall contractor” will appear but not for “drywall contractor jobs”.
When adding negative keywords to Display, YouTube and Mobile-App install campaigns, it prevents your ads from showing up on websites, videos and apps that contain those particular words. A good option for a negative keyword in display campaigns is “game” or “games” as these will cut down on wasted costs due to accidental clicks by kids (and adults).
Additionally, negative keywords helps users better find what they are looking for, which adds value to both the users and Google.
Contrary to regular keyword targeting options, your negative keywords will need to include the following:
- Singular versions
- Plural versions
- Close variations
This helps avoid confusion that could be caused by the types of keywords listed above, as well as optimising your campaign by making sure the landing page is relevant to the search query.
A highly targeted campaign with meticulously chosen keywords should also pin point what not to target. Negative keywords streamline your search campaign by eliminating similar terms that may cater to a different target market.
Understanding Negative Keywords and Match Types
Negative keyword research can help improve your quality score by making sure the right users see, and click, on your ads. There are different kinds of negative keywords in search campaigns, namely broad match, exact match and phrase match negative keywords.
Negative Broad Match
This is considered the default of your negative keywords. When using negative broad match keywords your ad will not show if it contains all of the negative keyword terms, regardless of their order.
Negative Exact Match
In the case of negative exact match keywords your ad will not show if the search query is a perfect or exact match, meaning all the keyword terms are the same, in the same order and without additional words.
Negative Phrase Match
When using negative phrase match keywords your ad will not show if the keyword terms are the same (in the same order). However, the search can include additional words. This just means the ad will not show as long as all the keyword terms are included in the same order.
How negative keywords help AdWords campaign managers
Now that we have delved into negative keywords, it is important to remember what the purpose is of any Google AdWords campaign optimisation effort: to improve the quality of the traffic that you’re sending to your website. Not only does negative keywords improve the quality of your ad traffic, it also improves your quality score by improving your expected click through rate.
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