Adding The ‘Who Done It’ List To Your Negative Keywords

Here is an expert tip on a fairly simple way to save some money on your Google Paid Ads.

How much ad spend you are going to reduce will depend on how much you are currently spending and how many negative keywords you currently are using, but I can tell you that it could be around 3-5% of your ads budget.

For you to save money on unnecessary ad spend what you should do is add what I call the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords to your campaigns.

What is the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords?

This is a list of negative keywords that block question searches from triggering your ads to show. Effectively blocking question searches in both shopping campaigns and search campaigns that utilize either phrase or broad match, this list will eliminate high level searches that rarely if ever directly lead to a sale.

What are these keywords and why do they never or at least very rarely lead to a sale?

Here are some of the words. Read through the list below and think what type of keyword searches these would generate for your campaigns then we will look at examples for one of my private clients:

  • ‘where’
  • ‘how to’
  • ‘how do’ / ‘how you’
  • ‘could I’ / ‘could you’
  • ‘can I’ / ‘can you’
  • ‘should I’ / ‘should you’
  • ‘does a’ / ‘is a’

Why does this list of ‘Who Done It’ keywords rarely if ever lead to a conversion?

Because these keywords are going to generate very high level / low buying intent traffic.

As you read through the list you probably filled in the rest of the question in your head as it comes to your campaigns so perhaps you already know what I mean, but let’s look at some examples:

A private client of mine sells shower drain covers and not the $5 variety from Home Depot, but rather super high-end drain covers starting at about $60.

For his company, he wants traffic from keywords from people searching to replace or install a new drain cover.

Here are some of the searches that contain ‘shower drain’ that adding the ‘Who Done It’ list will block.

  • Where are the screws to uninstall a shower drain?’
  • Hot to install a shower drain?’
  • How do I clean my shower drain?’
  • Could I make my own shower drain cover?’
  • Can I replace my shower drain cover myself?’
  • Should I cover the drain in my basement?’
  • Does a shower drain block water?’

You see the pattern, right?

The pattern is that none of these searches have a very high likelihood of leading to a sale.

Sure, you could serve visitors retargeting ads after they visit your website, but still, it is a longshot. Better to save the money on what it would cost to bring these looky-loos to your website and apply the ads budget you save to traffic with a higher likelihood of converting.

Creating Your Custom List of ‘Who Done It’ Negative Keywords

Besides taking the list of examples above, you may want to know how to customize the list for your account.

The most effective way to find your own ‘Who Done It’ list is by reviewing the terms that have historically driven traffic to your ad campaigns.

If you have been following my writings, you are aware that Google has partially hidden this data within your Google Ads account. However, it is still currently available using Google Analytics. Here is an article that goes into details – Google is Now Playing Hide and Seek with Your Search Terms

Fully detailed in the article mentioned above, here are the steps to access your full list of search terms using Google Analytics Search Queries Report.

  1. Login to Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/)
  2. In the left-hand menu click on ‘Acquisition’
  3. Then, ‘Google Ads’
  4. Then, ‘Search Queries”
  5. Change the date in the upper right to dates you wish to view.
  6. Using the Secondary dimension drop down to add ‘Campaign’. Note, without this step you will be viewing keywords from the entire account.
  7. Change rows to a number that will display all data (default is only 25 rows).
  8. Export data.

Applying Your List of Negative Keywords

One you have your own list of ‘Who Done It’ negative keywords the next step is to add it to your account.

When adding negative keywords, you have 3 choices:

  1. Add them at the ad group level.
  2. Add them at the campaign level
  3. Add them at the account level.

Here we are only going to review adding them to the account level because in my opinion there is no reason to have ‘Who Done It’ traffic in any campaign or ad group.

To quickly add these negative keywords to multiple campaigns, I recommend using a negative keyword list. A negative keyword list will easily let you add or subtract keywords to the ‘Who Done It’ list and quickly apply the list to multiple campaigns.

Here is how to create an implement a negative keyword list.

Create a negative keyword list:

  1. In the top menu, under Shared Library, click ‘Negative Keyword List’
  2. Click the blue plus button.
  3. Name your list and add negative keywords.
  4. Click Save

Apply negative keyword lists to multiple campaigns from the negative keyword library

  1. Click the tools & settings icon Google Ads (in the upper right tool bar) of your account.
  2. Under “Shared library,” click Negative keyword lists.
  3. Check the box next to the negative keyword lists you want to apply to campaigns.
  4. Click Apply to campaigns.
  5. Select the campaigns you’d like to apply the negative keyword lists to.
  6. Click Apply.

FINAL WORD

Blocking searches using the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords only works when using manual shopping campaigns. With smart shopping campaigns, you can’t block unwanted keyword searches and you won’t even be able to tell how many ‘Who Done It’ searches you are receiving. Yet just another reason to avoid Smart Shopping campaigns.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is going to effectively block the higher purchase intent traffic or the traffic which is the furthest away from making a purchase.

In the image above, the ‘Who Done It’ list is going to block the awareness to interest group. Typically, those website visitors are a long way from purchasing and not profitable to serve Google paid ads.

Ideally when we are looking to drive traffic from Google at a minimum, we want traffic in the intent to evaluation stage or those looking to make a purchase.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is one way to effectively ensure we are getting this qualified, purchase intent traffic to our Google Shopping and Search campaigns.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Positive Keywords – A Better Way To Control Unwanted Searches

Unwanted Searches

One of largest obstacles in achieving profitability for many advertisers using Google Shopping is the presence of unwanted keyword searches. Even profitable Shopping campaigns are not immune to wasted ad spend due to the nature of Google Shopping.

With Google Shopping the advertiser does not select their keywords as they do with their Search campaigns. Instead Google uses their proprietary algorithm to match a user’s Google search with an advertiser’s product ad. In order to match an advertiser’s product ad to serve inside Google Shopping results, Google uses a combination of keywords found in each product’s title and its product description. Then, Google uses a real-time auction based on an advertiser’s bid compared with other advertisers’ bids who have matching products to determine which order (ad rank) items appear in Google Shopping.

For the most part, this works well for advertisers as the keywords in the title and description determine when a product is eligible to appear, and the amount of an advertiser’s bid determines the order.

It also saves time for advertisers. Once a data feed is approved in Google Merchant Center, products can begin running inside the Google Shopping platform within minutes.

In fact, it is so easy to launch a new Google Shopping campaign that it can be quite dangerous in terms of budget for the novice Google marketer.

For those advertisers wanting to optimize their campaigns for profit, the most effective tool in being able to eliminate unwanted searches is the proper use of negative keywords – see my article ‘The Art of Adding Negative Keywords‘.

Negative keywords can be applied at the ad group, campaign or multi-campaign level with the use of a negative keyword list. However, properly optimizing with negative keywords by using the search terms report can be a never-ending task of find and remove with the constant discovery of new unwanted search phrases.

A Better Way

For accounts that have products that are highly brand oriented there is an easier way to eliminate approximately 80% of unwanted search terms without the constant adding of negative keywords.

Interested?

It is called Positive Keywords.

One of the most effective strategies that I use for many of my private clients who are brand centric, this strategy relies on a couple of things:

  1. The Proper Segmenting of Google Shopping Campaigns.
  2. The Use of Priority Settings.

Properly Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns

With best-practices, Google Shopping campaigns should be subdivided just like you do with Google Search Campaigns meaning into a subset of like products. Since Google Shopping products rely on your data feed being supplied to Google Merchant Center this is going to take some advanced planning and correctly implementing that plan when formatting your Merchant Center feed.

However, by properly segmenting your campaigns advertisers will be able to more easily control unwanted searches with negative keywords as well as be able to better optimize bids for product ads based on historical data.

For additional information on optimizing product bids plus a FREE download, see my article ‘Effectively Optimize Google Shopping Based on Your Past History, Nothing More’.

Properly Using Campaign Settings

When configuring a Google Shopping campaign, Google allows for the use of priority settings of high, medium and low. Priority settings like the name implies takes priority over bids in determining which product Google serves from an advertisers account.

The priority settings kick-in if either the same product is in 2 different campaigns or if 2 different products in 2 different campaigns have a title/keywords that matches a Google search query.

Here is a quick written illustration:

Campaign A has a Priority Level of Low and contains product XYZ with a bid of $0.50.

Campaign B has a Priority Level of Medium and also contains product XYZ with a bid of $0.05.

Google is going to always display the product XYZ from Campaign B with the bid of $0.05 instead of from Campaign A even though the bid for the same product is 10X higher in Campaign A because of the priority level setting.

For detailed information on formatting your Priority Settings, read my article ‘Knowing Your Priority Settings in Google Shopping’.

The Positive Keyword Strategy

Here is how the priority keyword strategy works.

I set a product group containing many related products typically products grouped by manufacturer brand to high priority at a very low bid, say $0.01 in an initial campaign – Call it Campaign A.

Then, I create another campaign containing the same products at either medium or low priority and use a significantly higher bid, say $1 – Call this Campaign B.

Within the high priority Campaign with bids set at $0.01 (Campaign A), I add negative keywords for the branded terms as well as other high converting search terms.

What this does is allow Campaign A to filter out keyword searches with the use of negative keywords at a bid of $0.01. The keyword searches that direct to Campaign A are typically keywords with a low chance of converting.

Thus, this strategy allows only high-converting, brand specific traffic to be eligible to serve product ads in Campaign B. This greatly increases the conversion rates, CTR and overall profitability of Campaign B allowing you to increase bids and increase your Search Impression Share.

Now Campaign A, with its bid of $0.01 will still get a small bit of traffic and some of that traffic may even convert. When a keyword term converts in Campaign A, you can view the ‘Search’ terms report located within the ‘Keywords’ link on the left menu to add this keyword as a negative keyword to Campaign A. When you add a keyword negative to Campaign A, it will allow future searches for that converting keyword to be passed through to Campaign B.

This strategy works well to significantly improve the conversion rates and the CTR, which also will increase the quality score of products ads in Campaign B. Increasing the quality score of products ads will work to benefit advertisers by helping lower their average cost-per-click regardless of bid.

A product ad with a high-quality score often may be shown in front of a competitor’s PLA ad in Google regardless of bid, thereby increasing overall profitability even further!

Google regardless of bid, thereby increasing overall profitability even further!

Non-Theoretical Example

One of my private clients sells t-shirts and hats and one of their biggest selling brands is John Deere. For there John Deere Shopping campaign, we have found that keyword search terms containing John Deere convert while there are hundreds of other search terms that do not or at least do not profitably.

Therefore, by using the Positive Keyword strategy we can filter out all keyword searches that do not contain John Deere from the John Deere Campaign.

Campaign A – We will name ‘Positive Strategy – John Deere’ and add all John Deere product ads to this campaign with a bid of $0.01 and set the priority level to high. We will then add the negative keywords as a phrase match “John Deere”.

Campaign B – We will name ‘John Deere – Standard’ and add all John Deere product ads to this campaign with a bid of $0.50 and set the priority level to medium.

Since both campaigns have the same products all Google searches where these products would be eligible to appear will be sent to the Positive Strategy – John Deere campaign unless those searches contain the keyword term “John Deere”.

Positive Strategy – John Deere campaign has a bid of $0.01 which allows us to filter out all the unwanted keyword searches that we were receiving non-specific keyword searches from John Deere – Standard at the cost of $0.01 per click!

With the positive keyword strategy in place, John Deere – Standard will now receive traffic from search terms ONLY with the term John Deere in them including terms such as ‘John Deere Hat’, ‘John Deere Shirt’, Etc.

See how it works!

Last Word

Using Positive Keywords is most effective when advertising brand centric products or with enough historical data for an advertiser to absolutely know which keyword search terms do and which do not convert.

By using Positive Keywords an advertiser needs to make sure they are not eliminating substantial traffic that has the potential to generate significant profitable sales.

In addition, advertisers need to make sure all steps are properly completed when setting their priority levels, bids and negative keywords. If there is an error in the way settings are configured, the Priority Keywords method will not have the desired results.

You also will want to monitor your Positive Keyword campaigns for conversions as you will want to add to negative keywords in the Positive Strategy campaign if the campaigns receives a conversion.

Finally, even after Priority Keyword method is running properly it will still be necessary to monitor the keywords driving traffic and most likely continue to add negative keywords to your main campaign, just not as many:>

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing  (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized ecommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.  

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

About The Author - Andy Splichal

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author and certified online marketing strategist with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Find more information on Andy Splichal visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or at his read his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

The Art of Adding Negative Keywords {updated 3/3/20}

One of the quickest and most effective ways for advertisers to optimize their Google Ads account is with the proper use of negative keywords.  A powerful optimizing tool for both Shopping and Search campaigns, negative keywords work to block unwanted search terms from triggering ads to be shown.

Let’s quickly review what Google keywords are before looking at negative keywords.

For Google shopping campaigns, there are no keywords. Google matches keywords found in an advertiser’s product titles and descriptions and matches them to related user queries. The lack of keywords makes using negative keywords especially in shopping campaigns a must for advertisers to prevent product ads from appearing for irrelevant searches.

Google search campaigns are more straightforward. Keywords are created within the Google ads account added by the advertiser and these keywords fully dictate which search terms trigger ads to appear. Negative keywords are still important especially if advertisers are using match types other than Exact Match.

Currently, Google supports five different types of keywords for Search campaigns: Exact Match, Phrase Match, Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier and Negative keywords.

Regardless of campaign type, negative keywords have the top hierarchy of the different types of keywords.  Adding a negative keyword to an advertiser’s account, campaign or ad group will block all ads from being displayed even if that same keyword is also listed as one of the other keyword types for a search campaign. 

However, although the negative keyword will block ads from being shown, having a keyword as both a negative and either an exact, phrase, broad or broad match modifier keyword in a search campaign will trigger a Google alert and is not recommended.

How Do You Know Which Negative Keywords to Add?

In order to determine if it is necessary to add a negative keywords, review your search terms report in order to discover which keywords are driving traffic.

Effectively using Search Terms is an entirely different subject which I have dedicated another entire article – Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The AdWords Puzzle.

For now, we are going to assume you have a list of negative keywords you would like to add. Common negative keywords across accounts include keywords such as: free, coupon, pictures, cheap, wholesale, etc. Therefore, we will use these keywords in our example.

Adding Negative Keywords At The Ad Group & Campaign Levels

Once you have your list of negative keywords they can be added for the ad group, campaign or account level.  We will look at how to properly add negative keywords at all 3 levels and strategies to implement.

The process for adding negative keywords to either the ad group and campaign levels is identical and will depend on which whether you are viewing the campaign or ad group level.

In order to add negative keywords at either the ad group or campaign level, first navigate to either the ad group or campaign you wish to add the negative keyword(s) and click on the Negative Keywords link in the left hand column below the Keywords link. (You may need to click on the small arrow to the left of the Keywords link in order to view the Negative Keywords).

The negative keywords view will show all existing negative keywords currently applied to this campaign including which negative keyword, where they are added to, the level (account, campaign or ad group) and the match type for the negative keyword.

In order to add additional negative keywords at either the campaign or ad group, an advertiser will first click on the blue plus button.

This will open a new window where advertisers can add their desired negative keywords.

Here advertisers are allowed to either manually enter new negative keywords or apply a negative keyword list (we will discuss later in this article). In addition, advertisers can decide whether to add the negative keywords to either the campaign or ad group level.

If adding manually, here you will add the negative keywords. By including either within brackets, quotes or with no punctuation will determine the negative keyword match type.

Exact Negative – Brackets – Excludes all searches from appearing that contain that exact search.

Phrase Negative – Quotes – Excludes all searches from appearing that contain the negative phrase.

Broad Negative – Nothing – Excludes all searches from appearing that contains that word or words.

Adding Negative Keywords At The Account Level

Adding a list of negative keywords at the account level will limit ads being triggered throughout the account. 

A distinct advantage of adding negative keywords at the account level is a quick and semi-easy way to limit unwanted traffic for generic terms that advertisers wish never to be able to trigger their ads across their account.

A distinct advantage of adding negative keywords at the account level is a quick and semi-easy way to limit unwanted traffic for generic terms that advertisers wish never to be able to trigger their ads across their account.

Then, click on blue plus button to add a new negative keyword list or click on an existing list to modify the keywords currently contained within a list.

To add a new negative keyword list, click on the blue plus button; add your negative keywords; name the list and then save.

Once you create or when you using and existing negative keyword list, advertisers can easily apply the list to multiple campaigns.

To apply to multiple campaigns, first click on the negative keyword list you would like to apply. Then, you will be either allowed to add more negative keywords or to apply the list to one or more existing campaigns. In order to add to campaigns, click on the blue ‘Apply to Campaigns’.

This will open a new window where you can select campaigns to apply your negative keyword list. Simply select the box next to the campaign or campaigns that you wish to add the list and click the ‘Done’ button.

Remember that you can also apply negative keyword list directly within the campaign where you add individual negative keywords (see instructions above).

Final Word

The proper use of negative keywords is a powerful tool in optimizing an advertiser’s campaign.  By examining past account performance, an advertiser can find a list of keywords that if properly implemented will stop ads from being displayed for non-relevant search terms. 

Properly optimized, keeping up to date with negative keywords is a best-practice that not only can substantially save ad budget, but will also make your ads more relevant thus helping improve overall metrics in an account.

Keep in mind with negative keywords that once you are done you are not done. The use of negative keywords is NOT a set it and forget it technique. 

In order to get the most out of an ads budget, a properly optimized account will need an advertiser continuing to search, discover and implementing new negative keywords on an ongoing basis throughout the lifetime of the account.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.