Pay-per-click advertising is becoming a necessary part of the Internet marketing mix for most companies when there is a need to drive immediate traffic to their Web sites. Google AdWords is the most popular pay-per-click program on the Internet. However, if you are not attracting a very select targeted group of users who are specifically looking for what you offer, the costs can quickly get out of control and may be prohibitive. Many Google AdWords users do not know that they can take steps to drive down the cost of an AdWords campaign by using an AdWords feature called negative keywords.
Negative keywords are words used in a Google Ad Group that prevent an ad from displaying whenever someone uses that particular word in a search on a Google search page or a partner page. It is the opposite of using a regular search keyword. This can be an important cost reduction factor, particularly if your pay-per-click campaign focuses on generic keywords whose usage in English cross over to a lot of non-related products or services. Generic keywords attract a lot of non-targeted traffic that may click on your link out of curiosity. This will drive up the cost without necessarily producing new business.
The idea behind this is to prevent ads from showing when someone searches for unrelated products or services that use similar words. The following is a real life example of how this works.
Negative Keywords Example: generators
Which type of generator do you sell? Is it a power generator, a code generator, a number generator, a color generator or an ozone generator? Do you sell new or used generators? Is this starting to make sense? The word generator can be used to describe a lot of different products. In this case, the focus is on power generators, but we want to make sure that we discourage traffic from searchers looking for unrelated products. It makes no sense to pay for traffic that is not likely to result in business. However, this also happens to be a word where a lot of potential buyers simply search using the word "generators", so we do not want to limit the keywords list to just words like power generator, emergency power generator, etc. We want users to see the ad when they search for generators, but not when they search for types of generators that we do not sell.
To add a negative keyword to your keyword list, simply precede the keyword with a negative sign (a hyphen, with no space) and add the word to your keyword list in the appropriate AdWords Ad Group. Here are the negative keywords we used for the power generator Ad Group.
Generating a List of Effective Negative Keywords
An easy way to generate a list of effective negative keywords and well as the list of those you wish to target is to simply use the free WordTracker Keyword Suggestion Tool found here:
WordTracker is considered to be the premier keyword research tool. The free online version of WordTracker gives you an estimate of the number of daily searches using a given seach phrase. It also typically generates a list of related keyword phrases and tells you how many times is estimates that searched for those phrases, as well. Check it out yourself and you can see how easy it was to come up with a list of negative keywords when we searched for our targeted keyword, generators.