Negative Keyword Lists
Negative keywords improve campaign profitability
Negative keywords are daunting to some users. But this is a very serious and necessary weapon in the war to get clicks from real potential buyers. Rather than people looking for related items you don't sell or people typing in your keywords for all the other reasons they might.
You need to be very good at negative keywords if you're going to get conversions profitably.
So let's cover what that means and give you a jump start on creating your own negative keyword lists you can use to avoid those most dreaded of clicks: Non-Buyers!
Universal Negative Keywords
First, let's look at the kind of search terms (words) that typically indicate a search is not from a person with "buying intent". We call these "universal negative keywords". PDF and pictures and regulations and schools and training and recruiting and executives and amazon are all very good examples of universal negative keywords (unless you're selling PDFs, of course). These negative keywords are "universal" in the sense that you will probably want to use them to apply to every campaign in your account. That is why you should consider loading them into your shared library and settting them at the account level.
Built into Example #8 is a "universal" negative keyword list of 1720 negative keywords.
It is our consolidated list of negative keywords we have used and accumulated over the course of the past six years. We recommend that you copy this list and paste it into Excel for review and use. It will only take you about an hour to go through all the words and eliminate the ones you think are not a good idea for your business. Try our list or go looking online for others you like. That will probably do a good job of covering your need for universal negative keywords.
Please do not use this list without reviewing it first. It is quite likely that some of the 1720 negative keywords will confict with your desired keyword matches. These aren't really "universal" in that specific businesses may be using some of these terms in what they sell. If you sell on Amazon, you probably won't want to use "amazon" as a negative keyword. But the vast majority of the terms will help you to cut out showing your ads to non-buyers.
Your campaign's keywords will require some negative keywords as well
Keywords have the job of finding those sets of search terms (in a Google search) that you want to target your ads to. Shouldn't that limit the searchers that see your ads to the ones you are targeting?
Well, yes - and no. You specify keywords in your campaign. Meanitme, your potential customer is typing in search terms into Google. The issue here is how do those two sets of words interact. You need to understand this interaction EXTREMELY WELL. Then you can use negative keywords to make it work exactly as you would like.
You sell tennis shoes. On a site that says: We Sell Only Tennis Shoes - Nothing Else. So how do you go about getting clicks from people looking for tennis shoes? And avoiding clicks from anyone NOT looking to buy tennis shoes?
Keywords are interpreted by Google Ads in the broadest terms possible. Yes, that includes keywords that are "exact match". If your keyword was: tennis shoes (exact match), Google would match that up with everything from athletic shoes to sexy sneakers. Google calls this broadening of the match between exact match keywords and search terms "close variants".
That example is not an exaggeration. That's how "exact" the matching is of an "exact match" keyword. You need negative keywords to kill off all the matches you don't want. Even if Google considers them to be variants that are "close" enough.
The answer is negative keywords
So, unless you take steps to stop your ad from showing to a lot of searchers who are not looking for tennis shoes, you're going to get a lot of impressions that you really don't want anyone to click on. One way to keep non-buyers from clicking, is to create ads that are incredibly clear: "Don't Click Here Unless You Want To Buy Tennis Shoes". And that is a very important part of your campaign design: creating ads that do not attract non-buyers of your goods or services.
But you have to do more than that. Because a huge number of impressions with a very low click through rate will yield a campaign with expensive clicks. And even though you might get a good conversion rate (ratio of conversions to clicks), your low CTR will make those clicks a lot more expensive than they need to be.
More specific keywords is always the right answer. But even when you stick to using sets of the specific words used by buyers, you still need to cut out all the searchers looking to do anything but buy from you. Negative keywords are the way.
How negative keywords work
While an exact match keyword of tennis shoes is broadly interpreted (pun very much intended) by Google when somebody is searching, negative keywords are interpreted in the narrowest terms possible. That means that you have to explicitly eliminate every single word or phrase you are trying to eliminate. Synonyms.
So your negative keyword of college won't stop any of the 23 synonyms for the word college. You will need to put all of them in your negative keywords or university tennis shoes will see your ad and probably click on it.