6 ways to revamp your negative keyword strategy

Implementing a robust negative keyword strategy has never been easier. Improve the quality of your impressions and free up dollars to spend on the clicks you want. 

1. Build negative keyword libraries

  • Use Google’s Shared Libraries for a one-time comprehensive library set-up.
  • Easily update and improve lists with each month of new data.
  • Apply changes across campaigns or across the account in an instant.
  • Use, Reuse and Recycle lists by quickly copying recurring themes to other accounts or campaigns.
  • Create logical, consistent order which facilitates expansion and identifies gaps in your strategy.
Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Build Libraries

Example of a Negative Keyword Library

2. Dissect the search query report in interesting ways

 For Negative keyword mining purposes try these 2 approaches. Remember to use a meaningful chunk of data: 3 – 6 months.


Sort by Search Term Alphabetically to Reveal Themes

See in an instant where your untargeted traffic is coming from.

Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Dissect the search query report

Sort by Impressions to Reveal Volume

High volume untargeted keywords are most likely costing you money. A few quick fixes can have considerable impact.

Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Dissect the search query report

Avoid the temptation to add negative keywords from the SQR directly into your AdWords campaigns using the interface. You can achieve greater efficiencies and avoid mistakes by using the library / list approach.


3. Do negative keyword research

You spend time researching keywords you want to buy. Its smart to invest time researching keywords you don’t want to buy.

  •  Begin by making a list of Business Descriptors. Then create a corresponding list of keywords which do not describe your business.

Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Search

  • Use Google’s Keyword Tool to generate a list of keywords related to your primary keywords. Download and sort alphabetically to reveal themes, which you can immediately add as negative keywords.

Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Google search

4. Be purposeful with AdGroup negatives

 AdGroups are a tool for segmenting keywords to ensure that the most relevant adcopy and landing page are served in response to a search query. 

 Use AdGroup level negatives to prevent less than optimal adcopy or less targeted landing pages from displaying in response to search queries which are similar.


Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - AdGRoup

5. Treat AdCenter as a unique engine with unique needs

–       A recent major update to AdCenter negative keywords means that campaign negatives can now be centralized at campaign level.

–       Additional AdGroup negatives can be applied at AdGroup level.

–       Review your AdCenter account negatives to make sure that your current set up is optimal.

6. Get conflicting negative keyword reports

–       AdCenter already offers this downloadable report directly from the interface

–       This is a great tool for finding problem negative keywords which may be blocking traffic.

–       Your AdWords rep can also provide you with this report for AdWords accounts.

–       Regularly run conflicting negative keyword reports to check for issues.

Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy - Report

What impact on performance can I expect?

After adding over 2,000 negative keywords in library lists to an account recently, the following changes to front end metrics were seen within 2 weeks.

 Revamp Your Negative Keyword Strategy Impact

  • Decline in Impressions (Who Cares)
  • Increase in Clicks (Nice)
  • Increase in Average CPC (Oh Oh)
  • Increase in Conversions (Hurray)
  • Increase in Cost (Oh Oh)
  • Decrease in Cost / Conversion (Yes – Worthwhile Exercise)