“AdWords, AdWords, make me a match. Find me a find. Catch me a catch. Adwords, AdWords, look through your search, and make me a perfect match…” And what does Google deliver? A series of bad Valentine’s dates. The match is completely off—and you’re paying for it.
Fortunately, there is a solution. AdWords just needs the right information from you. It needs negative match keywords.
Negative match keywords can be a very positive thing, saving you significant PPC spend. Let’s explore how you can tame the AdWords matchmaker so Google does make you a perfect match.
Choose the Best Match Type
Google offers three match types—broad match, phrase match and exact match. Negative keywords can be used within each of these match types. Sound complicated? Let’s look at a chart Google AdWords created to help us understand how it sets up dates when we use negative keywords.
Each green check mark means AdWords is going to suggest a date (show your ad) with the search query on the left. Each red ‘X’ means AdWords knows you aren’t interested in dating (doesn’t show your ad). Here’s how it works.
Negative Broad Keyword Match
If you don’t sell silk scarves, but you do sell wool scarves, a negative broad search will eliminate most bad dates. Why does this work the best? Google looks as ‘silk scarves’ as one entity. The two words work together as either ‘silk scarves’ or ‘scarves silk,’ but never as ‘silk’ or ‘scarves.’ There may be additional words in the search, but as long as the two words ‘silk’ and ‘scarves’ appear in the search, the negative broad search will block the match.
Negative Phrase Keyword Match
Why doesn’t the negative phrase work as well? Its nature is different. AdWords looks for the phrase ‘silk scarves.’ If the search phrase includes a word between ‘silk’ and ‘scarves,’ AdWords says, “This doesn’t match the phrase my customer wants me to use to eliminate matches.” The potential for a bad date increases when your ad appears.
Negative Exact Match Keyword Match
This is the least effective negative keyword for this setting. If your potential bad date adds just one word to their search query, you’ll still find yourself set up for disappointment. You only block ‘silk scarves.’
Using All Three Negative Matches
Fortunately, AdWords allows you to use negative matches in all three categories. This means you can teach AdWords what a good date looks like from your perspective by using all three negative types.
For example, a negative exact match keyword could be useful if you want to filter out dates with people who are only interested in a specific product or service you don’t sell. Suppose you write resumes but don’t provide job search coaching. Your exact match negative keyword could be -[job search coaching].
What would happen if you used this same keyword as a negative phrase? AdWords would still let searches such as ‘job coaching’ or ‘job search’ through. Even negative broad match will let these two keywords through. However, if you used this keyword as a negative broad filter, you would eliminate anyone who used all three words in any order in their search query.
Obviously, you want to look at what you’re eliminating carefully. It might even be a good idea to watch some tutorial videos, from Google or others, if you need more tips. For example, the video below discusses negative keywords and how to leverage them.
While using negative broad match keywords eliminates the worst dates, it’s important to recognize one difference between negative broad match and general broad match keywords. Negative broad match keywords are specific. They only filter for the words you use exactly as spelled. So if you want to eliminate additional mismatches, you need to add common misspellings, plurals and variations. For example, ‘job search coaching’ won’t eliminate matches with queries for ‘job search coach’ or ‘job search coaches.’ If you don’t want a match for variants, you have to tell AdWords that each one is a poor match.
Are you tired of bad dates? Then run a Search Query Report. It will help you identify what search queries led to clicks on your ad. When you see a poor match, you might just find a negative keyword you should add to your account.
Search query reports are for finding negatives that you miss from your initial keyword research. Get in the mind of searchers and find those negatives before they find you!
However, don’t stop there. Be proactive so AdWords stops giving the wrong impressions to the people. Run basic keyword research so you identify potential keywords that could send you irrelevant dates. You don’t want traffic coming to you that’s not qualified. You want matches that are totally into what you have to offer. As Amber at Hanapin Marketing says, “Search query reports are for finding negatives that you miss from your initial keyword research. Get in the mind of searchers and find those negatives before they find you!”
AdWords can find the perfect Valentine’s date for you. Assist the Google marketing engine by using negative keywords effectively. Then you’ll both be singing on your way to the bank, “AdWords, Adwords, I chose the keywords. You brought the sales…and I’m no longer longing to be the envy of all I see.”
PS - Be sure to analyze your AdWords spend and compare against the amount of customers it brings to your business. Without a return on investment for your AdWords spend there will be no love in the office. Download our free eBook Connecting Sales and Marketing to see the value of aligning your sales and marketing team. It will make your AdWords budget much more attractive!