Most PPC strategies hinge on knowing what you want: a target audience, CPC, geotargeting, and more. But it can be just as important to know what you don’t want.
Google Ads and other PPC platforms allow you to add limiting factors to your campaigns that prevent your ads from showing in certain situations.
When successful PPC is about getting a return on your ad spend, you can’t play around with achieving your goals. Unless your goal is to get as many low-quality views as possible, you need to be very choosy about your keywords. Negative keywords help you separate the good keywords from the ineffective ones.
Google Ads management can get confusing, though. How can you choose the best settings in a flurry of keywords, landing pages, audiences, and ad copy?
There are so many ways to optimize your campaign that it’s dizzying.
The good news is that negative keywords are simple to understand and incredibly easy to implement. They’re an underrated feature in Google Ads that complement any keyword strategy for more results.
What are negative keywords?
Negative keywords specify that you don’t want your ad to show for a certain keyword. For example, if you define “cheap hotels in New York” as a negative keyword, your ad won’t show for that search query.
Brands commonly use negative keywords to protect themselves from irrelevant traffic. Common negative keywords include phrases like “free,” “cheap,” “bargain,” and “luxury.”
Negative keywords provide better structure to your keyword strategy. They rein your campaign in and score more relevant traffic to your ads—preserving your budget and increasing conversions in the process.
Why do negative keywords matter?
Most brands overlook negative keywords and go straight into their standard keyword strategy. But brands should always optimize for negative keywords as part of a PPC strategy. This free feature is beneficial in three big ways for brands.
1. Save money
Who doesn’t want to save money on PPC? Negative keywords preserve more of your budget by displaying your ad to only the most relevant users.
While a shotgun keyword approach with zero negative keywords will get you tons of views, it won’t bring results. Although your ads will show less, it’s likely that more people will click through to your site with negative keywords.
2. Increase ROAS
Because you’re protecting more of your budget with better audience targeting, you’ll see a higher return on investment from your ad spend, or ROAS.
3. Protect your brand
Negative keywords help you control the conversation around your brand. For example, if you have a luxury brand, you would never want to rank for keywords like “cheap” or “free.” Preserve your brand’s integrity by carefully associating yourself with the right language.