Lowdown on Negatives

March 19, 2008

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor


Should I use negative keywords? And if so, what is the best way to find good negative keywords?

Negative keywords are keywords you add to your paid search campaigns and/or ad groups to help the search engine determine what search queries you do not want you ads showing up for.  Utilizing the negative keyword features can help you target the most appropriate customers and cut down on costs.

For example, the negative keyword “price tag” would prevent your ads from showing up for search queries containing the word “price” AND “tag”.

My favourite way to research negative keyword would be to pull Google’s Search Query report. I look at the results for broad matched keywords (these are the actual user search queries.) If any of the search queries do not relate to my product I mark them. After I’ve gone through the list I go back to the keywords that were not a good fit and I pull out the essence of the search query that made it a negative.
For example I might mark this list of keywords as a poor fit for my office supply business:

  • price tags
  • retail stickers
  • free colour printer
  • all cd covers
  • how to make your own cd covers

The negative keywords I would add are: “tag”, “sticker”, “free”, “cd”, and “how to”.  Use the singular version as the negative if applicable.
In Google you can put negative keywords on different match types: broad, phrase or exact. You can also add negative keywords at the campaign, ad group and account level for Google.
Yahoo allows you to add excluded words at the ad group level and MSN allows you to add negative keywords at the campaign or ad group level.

written by Erin Gordon — erin.gordon at channeladvisor.com