Paid Search Marketing Tips

Working With Negative Keywords

There seem to be two schools of thought on keyword generation. Some favor short, general lists with high-traffic terms set to Broad Match (which is known as Advanced Match on Yahoo), while others swear by much longer, exhaustive list of long-tail, specific keywords set to Exact or Standard Match.

Both of these strategies have their benefits, but neither is sufficient. The first method will capture the maximum amount of traffic, but in all likelihood, much of that traffic will be irrelevant. The second method guarantees relevant, targeted traffic, but you’ll miss out on all the users who have typed minor variations on the keyword phrases you’re bidding on. Negative Match is an overlooked way to combine both of these strategies, and in the process, maximize both the quantity and quality of the traffic coming to your site.

While many campaign managers know about the negative match option, fewer know that exact and phrase matches can be applied to negative keywords. Let’s say that a company is launching a paid search campaign touting their 3D modeling software. To reach users searching for terms like “modeling solutions” and “simulation modeling”, they’ll want to bid on the term “modeling” using broad match. However, people searching for just the single word “modeling” are most likely looked for fashion model-related information. By adding “modeling” as a negative exact match keyword, they will eliminate all traffic searching for just the word “modeling” while still running for terms like “modeling software”. Rounding out their keyword list with negative broad match keywords like “runway” and “fashion” should allow them to maximize relevant traffic while avoiding clicks for irrelevant searches.

If you’ve never used negative match before, try running a Search Query Report within your Google AdWords account. This recent addition to Google’s array of reports allows you to see the actual query terms that triggered clicks on your keywords. You might be surprised by what you find. If you see terms that are unrelated to your service or product, these are good candidates for negative match keywords. You should always strive to bring as much qualified traffic to your site as possible while keeping the unqualified traffic away. Often times, negative match is the best way to do that.

This tip submitted by:
Will Furgeson - PPC Manager

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