Effective Use of Negative Keywords in PPC Campaigns

February 18, 2010

This morning I was in a Google Adwords webinar and the question was asked, “Why would I ever want to use anything but broad matched keywords in my campaign? Don’t I want lots of traffic to my site?” The answer to his question is YES you want traffic, but NO you don’t want non-relevant traffic.

She’s happy… but not because of free dental work.

For example, let’s look at the keyword “dentist”. At Get Found First we manage several dental PPC campaigns, and this is always a word we include with a broad match. Many people will use the search term “dentist” when they want to see a dentist. However, many people are looking for free dental work so they search “free dentist” or “pro bono dentist”. Our ads show up for both terms but our clients aren’t really the dentists giving out the pro bono work… I’ve only heard of that for people living in poverty in 3rd world countries.


So what do we do? Use Negative Keywords! I found a good article from http://ppcblog.com/with some great suggestions. Many of these we do already here, but some are new and very helpful:

Generally you should avoid these keywords:

  • Diagram
  • Meaning of
  • Map of
  • What is
  • Free
  • Bargain
  • Sales
  • Low Price

All these words are either information inclined or have a “want something for nothing” feel. These types of searchers do not convert.

Although this list GENERALLY should be avoided, that is not always the case. For example if you have an offer for something free, you may want to advertise for that free offer.

Negative keyword lists should always be included in accounts, especially when using broad match keywords. This type of campaign takes time and close monitoring. Frequent checking of search terms will be neccesary to be effective.

In conclusion a campaign with many broad terms will drive traffic to your site, but if you are looking for relevant traffic you will need to toss some negative keywords in there.

Happy PPC’ing!


Similar Posts