BlogGeneralStop Wasting Your Ad Budget: Mastering Negative Keywords

Stop Wasting Your Ad Budget: Mastering Negative Keywords


  • JULY 4,2023

If you’re running Google Ads, chances are you’re attracting some of the wrong clicks. Those irrelevant searches eat into your budget and mess up your campaign metrics. It’s time to fight back by harnessing the power of negative keywords.

What Are Negative Keywords (And Why You Should Care)
Negative keywords are like a bouncer for your Google Ads. You give Google a list of terms that signal someone is NOT your ideal customer, and it prevents your ads from being shown for those searches. This results in:
Laser-Focused Targeting: Your ad spend goes towards reaching people actually interested in what you’re selling, not bargain hunters or folks on a research mission.
Improved Ad Performance: When your ads are highly relevant to the search, click-through rates skyrocket and Google rewards you with better placement.
Lowered Costs-Per-Click: The combination of more clicks and less wasted spend means you can often stretch your budget further.

Types of Negative Keywords & When to Deploy Them

Broad Match Negatives: Prevent your ad from showing on searches that include that term, even in variations (ex: “free”).
Phrase Match Negatives: Block your ad if the phrase appears in the exact order (ex: “candle making supplies”).
Exact Match Negatives: Only block searches for that specific term (ex: “competitor brand name”).

Examples to Get You Thinking
Let’s say you sell handcrafted, bespoke furniture. Here’s how negative keywords help refine your campaigns:
General Negatives: “cheap,” “DIY,” “used,” “IKEA” (if you’re at the opposite end of the furniture spectrum)
Job Seekers: “jobs,” “careers,” “employment” (unless you’re hiring, those clicks are useless!)
Informational: “tutorial,” plans,” how-to” (people researching, not ready to buy)
Location: Names of cities/states outside your delivery area, if you’re location-specific.

Finding Your Negatives: It’s Not Just Guesswork
Search Terms Report: Within your Google Ads account, this shows what people actually typed to trigger your ads. It’s a treasure trove for spotting irrelevant searches.
Keyword Research Tools: Use these to brainstorm negatives based on your niche. Think about what adjacent searches might NOT be a good fit.
Your Own Site Search: If you have a search bar on your website, analyze what people are looking for – it might reveal negative keyword ideas.

A Note on Maintenance
Negative keyword lists aren’t “set it and forget it.” Regularly review your Search Terms Report to catch new irrelevant searches and keep your campaigns honed.

Pro Tip: Start with a small set of highly targeted negative keywords and gradually expand based on your data. Overdoing it can accidentally block relevant searches!

Negative keywords are a powerful yet often underused tool in the Google Ads arsenal. By taking the time to refine your targeting, you’ll see better returns on your ad investment.

Need help auditing your campaigns for negative keyword opportunities? Call us…

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