Google Instant debuted last week. As you type a search phrase Google predicts what you’re typing, based on aggregate data of popular searches. Last night I realized I could use Google Instant to find popular keyword phrases for Google AdWords.
For instance, say your online store sells MP3 players. Type “mp3 players a” to find the most popular search phrases that begin with that string:
Unless you work for Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Target those matching phrases aren’t very helpful. If someone is intent on buying an MP3 player at one of those stores then they’re a lost customer for you. In that case, add those words to your negative keyword list to keep your ads from displaying for those searches. (But watch out using Best Buy as a negative keyword. See the important reminder below.)
Repeat the process for “mp3 players b” and so on until you’ve worked your way through the alphabet for that search phrase. Using this process for your top search phrases will uncover new search terms and particularly negative keywords.
I spent about four hours the other night running three dozen of our top keywords and search phrases through this process. The result was a handful of new keywords and hundreds and hundreds of negative keywords. I already had what I considered a pretty darned good set of negative keywords that I’ve developed over the years. I was happy to find so many new ones with such a small amount of work.
Why You Need Negative Keywords and an Important Reminder
First, what they are. Negative keywords keep your ads from showing when a search phrase would normally block your ad. Say I’m bidding on the broad-matched phrase “mp3 players” but I have “amazon” as a negative keyword. If someone searches for “mp3 players at amazon” my ad won’t show, because the search includes the negative keyword.
Second, why you should use negative keywords. Negatives keep your ad from showing for searches that aren’t relevant to what’s in your ad or on your Web site. When your ad shows for irrelevant searches two bad things can happen:
- The person may click on your ad. That’s bad, because Google AdWords’ cost model is per-click. You’re paying for clicks that won’t lead to a sale.
- The person may not click on your ad. That’s bad, too. It doesn’t directly cost you any money, but it decreases the click-through rate for that keyword and for your account as a whole. When your click-through rate is low your ad gets shown less often, your ad gets shown in a lower position, and you pay more for each click on your ad.
Third, how to do add a negative keyword it if you don’t know. (But read the reminder below before proceeding.) In Google AdWords Editor, select the campaign or ad group and click the Negatives tab. Click Add Negative to add a single word, or click Make Multiple Changes to add more than one. In the online interface, select a campaign or ad group, click the Keywords tab, then scroll to the bottom and click on Negative Keywords. Click the Add button.
And now that important reminder – When you add multi-word phrases, be sure to use phrase match rather than broad match. For instance, if I add best buy to my negative keywords as broad match, then I’m blocking searches for “best mp3 players” and “buy mp3 players”. Not good.
When you add best buy to your negative keywords make it a phrase match. That way it only blocks searches that contain both words – best and buy. To enter it as phrase match put quotation marks around it, like this: