AdWords Negative Keywords: Myths & Facts Cleared

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This Blog Post is specially for those who are new to AdWords, but at the same time can also come handy for the experienced ones as well.

The facts in this document are derived directly from Google AdWords Dedicated Team. So it is 100% true and verifiable.

The facts below apply only for Google and the Search Network and NOT for Content Network, as many of the facts are different for a campaign targeting Content Network.

Google AdWords Keyword Types:

There are total five Keyword Match Types available in AdWords. They are as follows:

  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match
  • Modified Broad Match (this has been recently introduced by Google)
  • Negative Match

 

 

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are a core component of a successful PPC keyword list. Adding a negative keyword to your ad group or campaign means that your ads won’t show for search queries containing that term. By filtering out unwanted impressions, negative keywords can help you reach the most appropriate prospects, reduce your cost-per-click (CPC), and increase your ROI.

The process to add negative keywords to your ad group or campaign is just like adding any other keyword. You can add a negative keyword in different match types, i.e. Broad, Phrase or Exact.

Clarity about Negative Keywords:

However, there have been cases where a user gets confused over which match type to use when adding a negative keyword.

Sometimes, people build their own perception about how a particular match type works with a negative keyword. For this reason, I’ve tried to clear the myths and make you aware about the facts of Negative Keywords below.

Myths & Facts cleared:

Myth: If the keyword ‘free trial’ is added as Negative Broad Match, it will stop our ads from showing for searches containing just the term ‘free’ or ‘trial’. It will even stop the ads from showing for variations of these terms, including singular/plural forms, for example, ‘free trials’.

Fact: A Negative Broad Match keyword like ‘free trial’ will only stop your ads from showing if the search contains BOTH these terms, irrespective of the word order. For example, it will not trigger ads for search query ‘free one-day trial’.

It will NOT prevent your ads from showing if the search query contains only one of terms, for example ‘one-day trial’ and ‘free test’.

It will also NOT prevent your ads from showing on variations of these terms, including singular/plural forms, for example, ‘free trials’.

Myth: A single word Negative Broad Match keyword in singular form will also prevent ads from showing for its plural form.

Fact: Single word Negative Broad Match keyword in singular form will NOT prevent ads from showing for its plural form.

Myth: A Single word Negative Broad match keyword will also stop ads from triggering for its synonyms, including misspellings.

Fact: A Negative Broad Match keyword will NOT stop ads from triggering for its synonyms, including misspellings. You are required to add the relative synonyms as well as misspellings, if any, in order to prevent your ads from triggering for that term. For example, if you use the negative keyword ‘cars’, your ads will still be shown for the term ‘automobiles’.

Myth: If a singular form Negative Phrase Match keyword is added, it will stop all the plural forms of that keyword as well.

Fact: Rules of Standard Phrase Match keyword still applies for a Negative Phrase Match keyword. If you were to add the keyword “free trail” to your account, the system would not let any search query containing the phrase “free trial” trigger your ads, for example, “free trial lesson”.

However, your ads would still get triggered for “free trails”, i.e. plural form.

Your ads will also not stop to show on search query that contains only one of the terms or even if the order of the words is not the same.

So, the main difference between Negative Broad and Phrase Match keyword is that in case of negative broad-match, the order of the words could be jumbled up, which is not the case in negative phrase-match.

Myth: A Negative Phrase Match keyword will not stop ads from triggering if that keyword is searched in its exact form.

Fact: When you input a word as Negative Phrase Match it will omit exact matches of the term. For example, if the term “estate agents” is added only as Negative phrase, it will also stop ads from showing if the search is exactly entered as “estate agents”.

 

 

Points to remember:

Based on the above Facts, it is a good idea to add a multiple-word search query, for example ‘estate agents’ in Negative Broad Match, since it will act as a 3-in-1 Negative keyword, i.e. it will prevent ads from showing on any search queries containing the terms ‘estate’ and ‘agents’. It will also prevent ads from showing for search queries like ‘estate agents london’ as well as the exact match ‘estate agents’.

It’s a good idea to add relevant variations of your negative keywords, including both the singular and plural forms, misspellings and synonyms.

Hope this helps to all the users in easing the work flow.

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