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AdWords Negative Keyword Technique


This post explains the practice and benefits of using negative keywords to your advantage, excluding irrelevant searchers from seeing your ad, let alone you paying for an irrelevant click.

If you really want to be able to measure performance and optimise your campaign effectively, there’s a little more to it.

Also see: The Essential Guide to Google Ads Negative Keywords


Dennis and Steve run a garden landscaping business in the South West of England.

Their campaign uses location targeting, of course. There’s a main ad group, already bidding on all the relevant terms; landscaping, best landscaping, landscaping experts, landscaping company, landscaping firm and so forth.

There are also other ad groups with keywords and ads relevant to each geographic area that services are offered; an ad group for Bristol, and ad group for Somerset, and ad group for Bath. All great practice that will demonstrate relevance to the audience and improve their CTR.

What They Missed

But here’s something they hadn’t considered:

Keyword 1: landscaping company – shows a generic Landscaping ad

Keyword 2: landscaping Bristol – shows a Bristol Landscaping ad.

When a searcher types in “landscaping company bristol“, Google has to guess which of your keywords is most relevant. Remember, Google AdWords is a piece of software that measures words, it has no idea that the word Bristol is more important than the word company in this example.

Clearly, this is a very simple example to demonstrate the point. The obvious remedy is also to bid on the keyword “landscaping company bristol” in the Bristol ad group, of course.

But your campaign is going to be a whole lot more complicated, with a whole lot more keyword variations, so the most effective solution (for this example, anyway) is this:

Use each of the locations as negative keywords in your generic ad groups.

Therefore, it would be good practice to use Bristol as a negative keyword in the main landscaping ad group. This tells Google that if the searcher is looking for landscaping services in Bristol, their search matches only keywords in the Bristol ad group and the searcher sees Bristol Landscaping ads and nothing else.

Lower Cost Per Click

This practice will improve your Click Through Rate (CTR), and improve your overall quality score and lead to a reduced cost per click and therefore a reduced Acquisition Cost.

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