SEM-PPC Negative Keyword Examples
The Negative Keyword examples below are used in paid search pay-per-click campaigns to prevent ads from being shown in response to poorly-qualified queries. By ‘poorly-qualified’, we mean the user’s query string is not compatible with the product or service being advertised.
For example, if you have an Italian restaurant, you might have an ad group with pay-per-click ad campaign keywords like ‘italian food’, ‘spaghetti carbonara’ and ‘tuscan cooking’. These will produce legitimate prospects for you. But they will also garner clicks by people looking for recipes, cooking schools or nutritional info. These searches are not looking for your restaurant!
Fortunately we can specify negative keywords (NegKWs for short) to prevent this. In this example, the NegKWs -recipe, -school and -calorie will prevent the ad from being shown when the user Googles ‘italian food recipes‘, ‘tuscan cooking school’ or ‘calories in spaghetti carbonara’. Keeps non-prospects from seeing your ads.
Where to Use Negative Keywords in Paid Search Campaigns
In general, a negative keyword blocks your pay-per-click ads from being displayed to people who are not searching for the purpose of buying your product or service. People Googling for information about jobs, training. or other things you don’t sell. Or looking for free or highly-discounted items similar to yours.
In the worst case, their query criticizes your restaurant’s food, ambiance or prices — or just rants. Example – “we hate marios ravioli”. Don’t give these folks a chance to click on your ads! Use -hate as a negative keyword.
Showing an ad to an unqualified prospect hurts campaign performance in several ways.
- It increases Impressions with little chance of Conversion.
- If they don’t click (fairly likely), the click through rate (CTR) declines.
- But if they do click, you pay for the click. Less ad spend for real prospects.
- They don’t find what they want on your landing page, so the Bounce Rate increases.
- More bounces and fewer conversions lowers your Quality Score, weakening future ad placements and raising the cost-per-click (CPC).
NegKWs are the best defense against these (mostly) well-meaning searchers. Systematic application of these will reduce the Bounce Rate (and unwanted website traffic and ad spend). And it will increase your click-thru and conversion rates. It also frees up more budget for the well-qualified prospects.
Here are three lists of some negative keywords that can be used to avoid having your ads presented to job seekers, researchers, or people looking for free or highly discounted products.
Example Negative PPC Keywords to Deter Job Seekers
Negative Keyword Exemplars – Students or Researchers
book (unless you sell books!)
case study (OK if you want them to read your case study)
case studies (ditto)
metrics (not always bad) news
sample (may be OK if samples are part of your selling model)
training (OK if you sell training)
tutorial (OK if this is a tutorial for your product)
Free or Bargain Shopper Avoidance Negative Keyword Suggestions
second hand (OK if you sell used goods)
used (OK if you sell used goods)