When your Google Ads show in the Google Search results, it means one of the keywords in your Google Ads account has triggered your ad to show. A good keyword list is vital for a successful Google Ads Campaign. However, a comprehensive Negative Keyword list is equally important. Negative Keywords prevent your Ad from showing when you don’t want it to. Below is an example.
Let’s say you own an online store that sells leather shoes. There are two searches on Google;
- “buy leather shoes online”
- “leather dog shoes”
A keyword in your account, “leather shoes”, would trigger your Ad to show in both cases. However, you don’t sell dog shoes … to ensure your Ad is not shown to the second searcher, the keyword “dog” would need to be added to your negative keyword list.
Often words like “free”, “cheap”, “end of line”, “discounted” make up an important part of a negative keyword list but there is more to it than that. A good, well thought out list will be significantly longer and include a large range of words, depending on your business and what you do and don’t want to show your ads for. Here are some key areas to always consider.
- Words like jobs, CV and vacancy will make sure your ads don’t show to people looking for work (unless of course you are looking to hire or are a recruitment agency)
- Words like “how to” and DIY will make sure your ads don’t show to people searching for instructions on how to do something themselves (unless your product/service specifically wishes to connect with DIY’ers).
- Swear words and words of a sexual nature ensure your ads don’t show for inappropriate searches
- Locations – countries or cities (for example, if you are a service based business in Auckland, you don’t want to show for people searching for your service in Christchurch or Wellington, therefore ‘Christchurch’ and ‘Wellington’ would be negative keywords in your account).
We have seen the quality of companies Google Ads accounts rising over the last decade and especially in the last few years. We hope to continue educating agencies, businesses and customers so that together we can have caring and transparent engagements that result in positive outcomes and great business results. We believe Negative Keywords Lists are part of the foundation of these Google Ads interactions working smoothly.
An account that doesn’t have negative keywords can result in:
- Ads being shown to people who are not interested
- Media spend being wasted on irrelevant people clicking on your ads
- Customers getting frustrated viewing irrelevant results and/or being sent to irrelevant websites
A negative keyword list is a constant work in progress – new words should be added constantly. An important area to check in this regard is the ‘Search Terms Report’. This report in your Google Ads account shows us exactly what people typed into Google Search before they saw the results and clicked on your ad. For example, if you sell Champagne online, your Google Ads Campaigns could be ticking along nicely until around mid-November, when all of a sudden you see a spike in searches for ‘Champagne Ham’ … the word “ham” should then be added to the negative keyword list immediately!
It’s worth your while to keep an eye on how people are finding your business online as the way users search, and what they search for is constantly changing.
How could combinations of your current keywords be used in an undesirable way? What irrelevant searches are you coming up for? How much wasted media spend has there been to date?
Make sure your media spend is being spent on prospective customers who are relevant and qualified and that you are blocking your ads from anyone who will not add value to your business and marketing strategy.