Monday, June 8, 2009

Negative is Positive with Google Adwords

I am called many things, but being negative is usually not one of them. However, when it comes to managing Google Adwords campaigns, I am proud to wallow in negativity!

Using "Negative Keywords" can greatly filter out and reduce wasted clicks on your Adword campaigns, lessen the chance of confused (irrelevant) visitors and help your overall campaign costs, conversion rates and cost-per-conversion. They also help reduce the load on enquiry centers handling the enquiries. I am a big fan of the aggressive use of intelligently selected negative keywords.

Adding negative keywords and search terms is rather easy... you can add them manually and/or, (strongly advised) research the term first with the Google Keyword Tool. You'll be amazed at the sheer number of similar search terms entered by people which have no relevance or value to your B2B campaigns.

An example of a negative term is one related to a desired search term, for example, 'Chemical Lab'. I want people who need professional B2B chemical analysis services. I don't want people looking for a 'Lab' as in 'Labrador Retreiver', or a 'Lab' puppy. So -dog, -dogs, -puppy, -puppies, etc, all go negative for this campaign. This is a simple task with the Keyword tool. For us, other great related negative terms include '-job', '-jobs', '-drug lab' etc. Filter the worthless search terms as much as you can.

I have quite a few campaigns where my negative terms outnumber my positive search terms... and these campaigns greatly benefit from this strong filtering. Conversion rates jump, costs slump. Very positive results from going negative.

Caution: Negative Search Terms and Names can have a very powerful filtering impact, and if you are not careful, unintended consequences can hurt your campaign. For example, if I had used 'lab puppy' as a broad negative search term, I could be filtering out other desirable 'lab' related searches. Going negative for [lab puppy] is better. Using only 'puppy', a very specific one word negative search term, is the least risky of all. I try to keep my negative search terms to one word each. Keep this possibility in mind when adding negative phrases or word combinations.

I use negative keyword terms in B2B campaigns across global business streams, niches, regions and languages, a 24/7 operation. Going negative helped reduce my spend on poor quality clicks and sparked higher conversion rates. If you're not using negative search terms yet, you're likely wasting money and time, which is never a good situation.

Embrace Your Negative Side When Managing Paid Search Campaigns.