When it comes to PPC campaign management, a lot of focus gets placed on choosing the right keywords you want your ads to show up for. Choosing the right keywords will help you determine how people are finding your ads, and even how likely they are to convert on your site after clicking.

Sometimes even a well intentioned keyword can bring with it some less than desirable traffic. The immediate reaction to a keyword that is bringing unwanted traffic would be to simply pause it, but that might be an overreaction.

What if that keyword really does bring in good traffic most of the time but also seems to let fringe searches in through the back door of your campaign? Ditching the keyword altogether would mean losing all that good traffic. In essence, it would be like amputating your entire hand over a papercut.

Negative Keywords: Why and When

The solution to this dilemma lies in the beautiful simplicity of the negative keyword. Just like normal keywords, negative keywords modify when your ads show up on the search results page. Only this time you are telling Google (or Bing) what words you DON’T want to show up for.

Negative Keywords can be a great way to optimize your PPC campaign.Creating a solid negative keyword list will ensure you aren’t showing up for those fringe searches that are wasting your budget. For example, a dentist might make a negative keyword list that includes terms like “salary”, “job”, or “school”. That way they are free to bid on higher traffic terms like “dentistry” without worrying about attracting anyone looking to start their own career.

Basically if you can think of any word that might relate to your industry but not your specific product, consider adding that to your list of negative keywords.

Negative Keywords: Where and How

Your negative keyword list is controlled from within your Adwords account. Simply navigate to you Keywords tab and scroll to the bottom of the page. There will be a drop down box titled “Negative Keywords”.

This is where you add in new keywords or delete the old ones you’ve added previously. Also remember that just like regular keywords, negatives can be entered in each of the different formats (broad, “prase”, or [exact]).

Be sure to remember what day you added to your negative keyword list and check your overall CTR both before and after the switch. This will help you gauge how effective your changes have been.

Still in need of a little extra help with your PPC campaign? Contact Big Leap today and let us take a look!

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Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes is a Paid Search Analyst at Big Leap who enjoys the creative aspect of online paid advertising. In his free time, Rob is a 3x Intramural Champion, a 17x Intramural Loser, and an avid climber of local mountains.