Use of Negatives for AdWords Campaigns

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By John Ellis

Adding “negative” keywords to an AdWords campaign can be your first level stop for even the basic pay-per-click campaign. It’s important because it can set the groundwork for perfect traffic directing.

When our company takes over an existing paid search account for clients, the first thing we often do is reduce unwanted traffic. We do this by creating negative keywords, which is an essential part to any campaign—and supports the basic premise that “all traffic is not good traffic.” Negative keywords allows us advertisers to filter out unwanted clicks and traffic. Some of the more common negative keywords include categories like job seekers (employment, hiring, intern, internship, internships, jobs), education (classes, college, courses, education, school, training, universities), price shoppers (prices, pricing, quote, quotes, coupon code), DIY (creating, handmade, homemade, how-to), and many more.

Add Negatives at the Ad Group Level

Negatives are most effective when added at the campaign level, so it’s applied to every ad group within the campaign. Placed here the keywords can provide much more value. Often times, Google views products very similarly, but users want, and require, unique ads and landing pages. Once more, ad group negatives will allow you to funnel users to the right landing page and meet the needs of your users.

Before you add negatives though be sure to have your account structure segmented properly. In fact, strong segmentation within an AdWords account is the basis for almost all enhancements and improvements. Following basic quality campaign structure is essential, before you get into ad group negatives. For segmentation:

1. Divide ad group by landing page

2. Create new ad group if keyword doesn’t match landing page

3. Make sure that keywords, landing page and ad all focus on the same keywords/product/service

4. Limit use of DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

Redirecting users to the right landing page is at the heart of every successful AdWords campaign. This methodology also comes in handy when dealing with tight budgets and, for that matter, any budget. The ultimate goal of helping the searcher is met. And you avoid a common mistake other advertisers make—forcing users to search again after already searching on Google.

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John Ellis

As a leading PPC expert, John is often invited to speak at major SEM industry conferences, such as Pubcon and SMX East, reinforcing his degree of expertise. Having the early part of his career spent as an "in-house" marketer gave John the understanding of what's most important with regards to results. Over the years, he has developed strong analytical skills, which helps him build higher-converting PPC campaigns from the start. He is a Google AdWords Qualified Individual.

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