What Are Negative Keywords?
In digital marketing, negative keywords are an essential part of a successful advertising campaign, helping you to refine your target audience, reduce irrelevant clicks, and ultimately save on your advertising budget. Negative keywords are used in various advertising platforms, including Google Ads and Amazon Advertising, and are a key part of a comprehensive negative keyword strategy.
This article explores negative keywords in-depth and how to use them in your digital marketing and search engine optimization strategies.
What Are Negative Keywords in Digital Marketing?
Negative keywords are a type of keyword used in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising platforms like Google Ads and Amazon Ads to prevent your ad from being displayed for certain search queries. By adding a negative keyword to your campaign, you're telling the platform not to show your ad to users who include that term in their search.
Negative keywords can be added at both the campaign level and the ad group level. They can be broad match keywords, exact match keywords, or negative phrase match keywords. The type of match determines how closely the negative keyword needs to align with the user's search query to prevent your ad from showing.
How Negative Keywords Work
When you add a negative keyword to your campaign or ad group, the advertising platform will prevent your ad from showing whenever that term is included in a user's search query. This can be particularly useful for filtering out irrelevant traffic and increasing the relevance of your ads to your target audience.
For example, if you're running a broad match keyword campaign for "shoes" on Google Ads or Amazon for eCommerce, your ad might show up for a wide range of shoe-related queries. However, if you're not selling running shoes, you could add "running" as a negative keyword to prevent your ad from showing for broad match keyword running shoe queries. This helps ensure alignment between intent and the content of your ad, improving your conversion rate.
What Is an Example of a Negative Keyword?
Let's say you're an advertising agency specializing in digital marketing services. You're running a Google Ads campaign with "advertising agencies" as your broad match keyword. However, you don't offer print advertising services. In this case, you might add "print" to your negative keywords list to prevent your ad from showing to users searching for print advertising agencies.
Another example could be if you're running a campaign for a clothing store and you don't sell swimwear. You could add "swimwear" to your negative keyword list to ensure your ads don't appear for search queries related to swimwear.
What Are Good Negative Keywords?
Good negative keywords are typically those that are related to your keywords but represent search terms that are not relevant to your products or services. These might include:
- Low-performing keywords: If you have access to Google Analytics or another analytics tool, you can identify keywords that are driving traffic to your site but have a below-average conversion rate. These might be good candidates for negative keywords.
- Off-topic keywords: If you notice that your ads are showing for search terms that are not related to what you offer, these terms might be good negative keywords.
- Unwanted traffic: If there are certain types of traffic that you want to avoid (for example, people looking for free products or jobs), you can add relevant terms to your negative keywords list.
How Do You Identify Negative Keyword Terms?
Identifying negative keywords terms often involves analyzing your search query data to understand what search terms are triggering your ads. You can do this using the search terms report in Google Ads or Amazon Ads. Look for search terms that are not relevant to your products or services, or that have a low conversion rate.
In addition, consider the intent behind different search terms. If a search term indicates a different search intent than what your ad offers, it might be a good candidate for a negative keyword. For example, if you're selling new products and notice that your ad is showing for search terms that include "used" or "second-hand," these might be good negative keyword phrases.
How to Use Negative Keywords
Using negative keywords effectively involves creating a negative keyword list and adding it to your PPC campaigns. This list should include terms that are irrelevant to your products or services, terms that have been driving irrelevant clicks, and terms that have been performing poorly in terms of conversions.
You can add negative keyword ideas at the campaign level or at the ad group level. Campaign-level negative keywords will apply to all ad groups within the campaign, while adgroup-level negative keywords will only apply to a specific ad group.
Negative Keywords with AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to automate and enhance the process of identifying and implementing negative keywords. AI can analyze large volumes of search query data, identify patterns and trends, and suggest potential negative keywords based on their likelihood to result in irrelevant clicks or low conversions.
For example, an AI software like Kparser or WordStream's Negative Keyword Tool can help you identify potential negative keywords. These tools use AI to analyze your search term report and suggest negative keywords based on patterns and trends in the data. They can also monitor the performance of your negative keywords and suggest adjustments as needed.
AI can also help monitor the performance of your negative keywords and suggest adjustments as needed. This can be particularly useful for large-scale PPC campaigns where manual monitoring and adjustment of negative keywords would be time-consuming and complex.
Types of Keywords: From Positive to Negative
In PPC advertising, there are several types of keywords, including positive keywords and negative keywords. Positive keywords are the terms you want to target with your ads, while negative keywords are the terms you want to exclude.
There are also different match types for keywords, including broad match, phrase match, and exact match. These match types determine how closely a user's search query needs to match your keyword for your ad to show.
Negative Keywords Matters When It Comes To Saving Money and Time
Negative keywords are a powerful tool in the arsenal of any digital marketer. They help to refine your target audience, reduce irrelevant clicks, and ultimately save on your advertising budget. By regularly reviewing and updating your negative keywords list, you can ensure that your ads are being shown to the most relevant audience.
For example, if you're running a Google AdWords campaign for "blue tennis shoes," you might find that your ads are being shown for "blue tennis shoes for hiking." If you don't sell hiking shoes, this would be an irrelevant keyword that could be added to your negative keywords list.
Similarly, if you're running Amazon PPC campaigns, you might find that certain keyword phrases are high-spend low-converters. These are phrases that are costing you a lot in ad spend but aren't resulting in conversions. These could be added to your negative keywords list to improve your cost per conversion.
In addition, you can use the search term report in Google AdWords or Amazon PPC to identify irrelevant search phrases that are triggering your ads. These can be added to your negative keywords list to further refine your target audience and improve your campaign's performance.
Negative Keywords: The Marketing Tactic to Enhance Your SEO Strategies
Negative keywords are an essential part of a successful PPC campaign. By understanding what they are, how they work, and how to use them effectively, you can improve the performance of your search campaigns, reduce your ad spend, and increase your conversion rate. Whether you're using Google AdWords, Amazon PPC, or any other PPC platform, negative keywords can help you achieve your advertising goals.
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