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To set the scene, you have signed up for a PPC campaign, added your payment information and possibly created a few ads, coming to grips with matching relevant keywords to the right campaign or ad group.
The next thing that you do is to make these ads live. All this seems simple enough. But being an intuitive inbound marketer, you know fully well that your job does not end here.
For many, investing in PPC campaigns can pinch their pockets pretty deep. However, using the right strategies and tactics, this is a valuable marketing tool, as opposed to a resented, money-wasting pastime for marketers.
To make the most of your PPC campaign budget, the key is to use a combination of sense and logic along with data that custom designs the ads to suit your specific requirements.
Zero in on particular buyer personas, a by-product of which helps you to get rid of any unwanted visitors who have very less chances of converting into a sale.
As a diligent marketer, you follow through the guidelines of assessing the quality score of your campaigns, performing A/B testing for your ad formats, revisiting and updating your keywords, adding any new features, extensions, etc.
But, have you forgotten the most important element that has can turn the tables around completely?
PPC campaigns and negative keywords go hand-in-hand. It is almost impossible for your Google Ads account to effectively function without using negative keywords. The impact of these keywords on the overall campaign is immense as it increases the rate of conversion and controls unwanted clicks.
Negative keywords are often overlooked by PPC campaigners. But these words and phrases are absolutely essential in preventing your ads from being triggered by particular search query.
Negative keywords lay emphasis on your specific campaign goals and help send the desired traffic to your website.
Running PPC campaigns are an expensive affair and you wouldn’t want to overspend. Negative keywords help to save money by eliminating search queries that are irrelevant.
For those who are yet to fathom the effectiveness of using negative keywords, it is time that you understand the power these magic keywords hold, which makes it mandatory for marketers to incorporate them in their campaigns.
But, first, let’s dig deeper into what negative keywords actually are.
Simply put, negative keywords, or sometimes referred to as excluded keywords are supported by Google Ads. This is an easy way to eliminate unqualified traffic to your site for the purpose of enhanced sales and visibility.
The list of negative keywords only targets those searchers who are specifically looking for your product.
Image: Negative keywords
Image: Campaign level negative
Image: Campaign level negative
Image: Campaign level negative
When you feel stymied with the negative keyword list, you can use the keyword selector tools to identify the terms most commonly searched for your type of product. You need to head to the Google Ads keyword planner and follow these steps.
When you write “free”, the audience immediately expects to get something for free when they enter your website.
But you are selling your products or services for a price and the audience quickly gets disappointed and leaves. This will cost you precious money that you have spent on your PPC campaign.
For instance, if you are an online game retailer and people are coming to your website thinking that you are offering free games online, but you are not, it will cost you money.
If you are not providing “free games online”, attracting the audience with that keyword will just be a waste of your money and time.
To make sure that freeloaders stay out of your website, you have to create a negative keyword list with the terms “free”, “online” and “play”.
Image: Negative keywords
The perfect time to create a negative keyword list for your PPC campaign is at the very outset of launching the campaign. In addition to that, most marketers believe in checking the list again when your campaign goes live and update it on a regular basis whilst the campaign is still ongoing.
Within every Google Ads account, you will find a report that shows the exact query that a searcher has typed before clicking on a specific ad.
This is called the Search Terms Report or SQR. The report will help you in finding negative keywords for your PPC campaigns.
In the current Google Ads interface, you can reach the report by navigating to an ad group or campaign. Click on the keywords tab and select “Search Terms”
Image: Search terms
The searchers intent will be revealed through the keywords. Based on that, enter your negative keywords.
Running a PPC campaign with a strong negative keyword list ensures that your ads are visible to only those people who are actually looking for your products or services.
Google Ads make it easy to set up a campaign with various keyword match options. However, even then, using modified broad, broad or phrase match keywords will require you to use negative keywords.
Using these match type ads, you make sure that your campaigns show up as a result for keywords other than the ones that you have entered.
For instance, the broad match term “plumber in Maryland” could show up as available plumber jobs in Maryland. Unless you want CVs instead of clients, this keyword works fine. But, other than that, you wouldn’t want to pay for such results.
In this case, by adding the negative keyword “job”, you will be able to exclude your ad from searches that include the word “job”. So, you can avoid reading the resumes of all those would-be plumbers and only connect with customers who need the services of a plumber.
Negative keywords help save money by getting rid of all the irrelevant keywords. One single keyword may not make a world of difference to your campaign and its results.
But, once you have built an exhaustive list of negative keywords, you will begin to notice things like, lower spend, higher click through rates and higher conversions.
Image: Paid conversions
With negative keywords, you can enhance your accuracy and target your customers better than ever.
Of course, you could use a list of exact match keywords, but that would make you lose out on a lot of keywords.
Instead, it is easier to just tell Google the search terms for which you do not wish your ad to be shown.
We already know that the primary benefit of this approach is saving money on per lead costs. The secondary benefit is to safeguard your quality score as your ads won’t show up for anything and everything.
Most importantly, your ad will not be prompted in the course of search requests that are related with bad press in your niche including scandals, disasters, poor imagery for your industry and legal judgements.
For instance, let’s assume that you are a travel agency providing cruise ship vacations. When a consumer performs a search query looking for details on cruise ship vacations, news and photos of disasters related to the shipping industry will be the first results.
Of course, because a ship disaster is fresh in the news, it will appear first. But nobody wants to be reminded that their ships can sink or capsize when they are searching for a cruise vacation!
That is exactly why any smart travel agency owner would pull the plug in any and all words and phrases that refers to ship disasters in their PPC campaign.
This will prevent – the agency’s name from getting tied to such tragedies, when the prospective consumer is searching with an intent to purchase online.
Google assigns quality scores to PPC ads based on a number of factors, such as relevancy of your ads to the landing pages of your website.
To put it simply, when your ad copy, including the keywords that you bid on are related closely to your landing page, Google rewards you.
So, a little effort to find and implement PPC negative keywords will not just help you generate high-quality leads, the search giant will also make sure that your ads acquire a high ranking position when they show up.
As if these weren’t enough already, you will also find that a high quality score means that you have to pay less money for your ads.
What does this mean?
You will pay a much lower CPC (cost per click) and also enjoy lower bid prices.
All of this together will put on the fast track to getting positive returns on your investment.
Let’s face it. There will always be people who are either interested or cannot care less in what your business is offering. Or maybe they are simply not a good fit for your business.
You already know that you have to pay for keyword-generated clicks, irrespective of whether the clicks are genuine. Then, why wouldn’t you want to protect your marketing budget from bad, irrelevant clicks?
By using negative words and phrases, you will be able to prevent your ad from showing up for those people who you do not wish to convert into leads.
When choosing negative keywords, you need of phrases and words that attract leads for industries that are very different from yours. In case your business model is a B2B, then you would obviously not want to attract B2C leads.
Setting up negative keywords are ideal for busy digital marketers as it pinpoints directly where you are losing money in your Google Ad campaigns. This allows you to instantly take corrective measures at the source of waste.
Geared towards getting the digital marketers work done faster and enhance the bottom line, the benefits of daily negative keywords update boosting your PPC campaign outweighs any adverse impacts for sure.
Negative keywords are one of the most powerful tools in PPC campaigns. Use it correctly and you can boost your click through rate and ROI, whilst reducing your CPC. Negative words help you to target your ads and increase conversion rates.
If you are yet to give importance to the usage of negative keywords in your PPC campaigns. The five reasons must have been an eye opener. Implement them now to give your ads that much needed push.
Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.
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