July 23, 2014

Managing Negative Keywords – A Layman’s Perspective

AdWords ChecklistOne of the latest and most effective strategies for attaining a successful PPC account is using negative keywords. When negative keywords are applied in the correct manner you can not only save a lot of money, but increase your click-through rates and enhance the relevancy of your audience. Here are a few tips on how to effectively use negative keywords that can be deployed to your advantage.
The very first thing you need to focus on is Search Query Reports or SQRs in AdWords. However, today you can spot this information in the ‘Keyword details’ part of the report. SQR can be an important factor in the negative keyword strategy as it can pinpoint the terms that were searched for in your ads. This helps you locate the terms that are showing in your ads, but are not relevant to your business. Armed with this knowledge, you can simply add the specific keyword to your negative keywords list and they will automatically piggy-back or tag along to create the desired results.
Next, you need pay attention to adding keywords to your account, both at the ad group levels and the campaign itself. Be sure to know where to add these keywords, as this is an important element in using negative keyword strategy. You will be adding terms that are not directly relevant to the products you sell. Like for instance, if you are an online marketer selling white goods, you could have a campaign for washing machines or dishwashers. In case you are just a seller and do not offer after sales service, you could add negative keywords like ‘repair’, ‘service’ ‘troubleshoot’ or ‘support’. You could even use cross brands as negative keywords, like ‘Whirlpool’ in the place of ‘Samsung’ or vice versa, in case you sell both brands.
While you are at it, remember that you cannot afford to use too many negative keywords at one go. This could end up working in the opposite direction and could cause you more damage than good. In case the account ends up with issues, you may have a hard time locating the keywords responsible for having caused the trouble. If you are thinking of negative keyword phrases like ‘do I really need this’ or ‘should I be buying now’, which are common phrases used over the phone or during casual conversation with peers, you may end up with a lesser rate of conversion. Even negative keywords have to be selected with extreme care.
The best solution for this is to use a list of negative keywords that you can refer to, which will help you manage your PPC account better. You can easily set this up by going to Shared Library and select the list of Campaign Negative keywords. You can include all the negative keywords that you feel cannot be used in your ads. Once the list is ready, you need to simply apply the list in every new campaign and ensure that none of those keywords figure in the ad content. This way you save a lot of time and effort.

Author’s Bio:
Nicole Wilson currently works at time warner cable new york, a site that enables everyone to learn about how to save on broadband and internet cable.

PPC Farming – Weeding

Pulling Weeds

Pulling WeedsYour garden is planted, the seeds have sprouted and the water and fertilizer have really sped up the growth of your garden. However, you quickly notice that your seeds aren’t the only ones that have sprouted. You now have a weed problem.

How Did Weeds Get In My Garden?

Just like your garden at home has weeds without any effort, your PPC efforts will have “weeds” in the form on poor-performing keywords and poor-performing domains.

Despite your best efforts to pick only relevant keywords that relate to your products, the sheer size of the internet and diversity of the people using it can create problems. Here are a few reasons those weeds always come up:

  • Multiple meanings for the same words – Toto is a brand of high-quality toilets manufactured in Japan. However, Toto is also the name of Dorothy’s dog from The Wizard of Oz as well as the band Toto (famous for the songs “Rosanna” and “Africa”) from the 80′s.
  • Spammers/Bots – Unfortunately there are people/programs out there that will run searches and click ads for “other” reasons. Whether it is SEO rank-checking programs, PPC competitive intelligence programs or AdSense scammers, these will hurt your performance by raising impression counts, depressing CTR & QS, or even causing fraudulent clicks.
  • Google’s automatic matching – The idea of showing your ads for related terms is good (ie you bid on “red basketball shoes” and Google shows you ad for “red Nike shoes”). However, that only works if you actually carry Nike (which you may not). Say Google gets a little more liberal and shows you ad for a search of “red slippers”? See how your ad can suddenly be showing for unrelated searches?

How To Weed You PPC Account

There are two main tools you should be using to weed your PPC account; Negative keywords and domain exclusion.

Negative Keywords – If you know common keywords that are unrelated, you can add them in your initial account set up. With our Toto toilets we could add words like “band”, “Dorothy”, “Oz”, etc. right from the beginning. However, as you campaigns run you’ll likely see some new terms you hadn’t thought of. Run a search query report (the new interface makes them easy – here are instructions for running a search query report) to see what terms are triggering your ads. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

Domain Exclusion – If you’re using the content network you’ll want to see exactly which domains are showing your ads. Inevitably you’ll find sites that A) have tons of impressions buy no clicks or B) have a great CTR but high cost/conversion. Simply exclude those sites to improve your account improvement.

Weeds rob your garden of water and nutrients. In PPC they rob you of your budget, raise your CPC and thwart your efforts to deliver a positive ROI. Do your weeding earlier rather than later because nobody wants this to be their garden:
Weedy Garden

Small Business PPC – Negative Keywords

negative-keywords

One of the most underutilized features in PPC is the negative keywords function. Hours are spent looking for the most relevant keywords and every imaginable permutation and misspelling. Those keywords are then organized into ad groups and campaigns using multiple match types, all in an effort to make sure our ad shows when a search is performed. All this effort to show up, but aren’t there searches where we DON’T want our ad?

Negative Keywords – Your Own Personal Jiminy Cricket

I love the movie Pinocchio and especially the character of Jiminy Cricket. This little guy has the job of keeping Pinocchio out of trouble. Effectively, Jiminy tells Pinocchio what NOT to do. Negative keywords are the Jiminy Cricket that you give to Google with instructions of when NOT to show your ads.

First, an example. Say you are selling small business backup software like Mozy Pro. Of course you want your ad to show for searches like “small business data backup” or “business backup”. So you put these guys in your ad group. However, do you really want someone searching “free business backup”? Say you sell Toto toilets. Do you want your ad showing for searches on Dorothy’s dog Toto from the Wizard of Oz?

How To Add Negative Keywords

Google AdWords has rolled out a new interface in the last few months and negative keywords got moved. You will now see them below your keyword lists like this:
Negative Keywords in AdWords

Simply click the “Add” button and type in keywords that aren’t related to your offering. “Free” is a good one if you don’t offer a free option. Our Toto toilets site above would add words like “Oz”, “Wizard”, “Dorothy” or “Dog”. This has two main benefits:

  1. Your ads don’t get stupid clicks (missed clicks, curiosity clicks, etc.) from people not looking for your product/services.
  2. Your CTR goes up, your QS goes up and your CPC goes down for the same position.

PS – Can’t think of any more negative keywords? Run a Search Query Report and you’ll find more, guaranteed! But that is Thursday’s post.

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