Negative Keywords To Include In Every Pay Per Click Campaign

Posted on February 4, 2015

One often overlooked but crucial element to setting up a successful pay per click advertising campaign is a negative keyword list. As opposed to keywords that you select that activate your ads to display, negative keywords do the opposite. Negative keywords prevent your ads from displaying when searched for.

Let's say you are an electronics retailer and sold computer monitors. "Monitors" might be in your keyword list. A month goes by and you see that you spent $500 for people clicking on your add when they searched for "baby monitors," a product not even close to what you sell. Adding "baby" to your negative keyword list would prevent your product from displaying when "baby monitors" was searched for. With each and every click costing you money, thoroughly fleshing out your negative keyword list will save you money and drive up conversions percentages.

Each industry and product will have their own sets of negative keywords, but below is a negative keyword list that should make it into virtually every campaign you set up. We have grouped them into different categories to show why each set is probably not a good customer for your PPC efforts.

PPC Negative Keywords - Employment

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Employment and Job Search

Similar to the education field, employment related keywords should be included in your negative keyword list as adding any of them to your keywords radically shifts the meaning. These are searchers that are looking for work opportunites or are considering a job change and not considering a purchase.

  • employer
  • employers
  • job
  • jobs
  • master
  • masters
  • mba
  • phd
  • salaries
  • salary
  • employment

PPC Negative Keywords - Images and Video

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Images and Videos

Take any keyword and add picture based keyword to the end. Keywords like "computer repair," "cheap sweater," or "coffee shop" become "computer repair photos," "cheap sweater pictures," and "coffee shop images." Searches done for any of these keywords indicate a high likelihood that they are not interested buying anything at that moment.

  • clips
  • image
  • images
  • photo
  • photos
  • pic
  • pics
  • picture
  • pictures

PPC Negative Keywords - Education

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Education

These education based keywords are typically made by those looking to study the product, not necessarily buy. A local psychiatric doctor should probably have "psychiatrist" as a keyword for their pay per click campaign, but unless they have "courses" in their negative keyword list, a searcher of "psychiatrist courses" will see the ads. Clearly not an ideal customer.

  • bachelors
  • class
  • school
  • schools
  • universities
  • university
  • classes
  • college
  • colleges
  • course
  • courses
  • degree
  • degrees
  • diploma
  • diplomas

PPC Negative Keywords - Do It Yourself

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Do It Yourself

Any time that a keyword like "DIY" is added to a search, a user is looking to literally do it themselves. There are countless websites that provide instructions on how to do virtually anything out there. Avoid paying for this traffic by including these do it yourself words in your negative keyword list.

  • do it yourself
  • how to
  • diy
  • workshops
  • workshop
  • tutorials
  • public domain
  • open source

PPC Negative Keywords - Price Sensitive

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Coupons and Sales

Depending on your product or service, price sensitive customers might be your target audience. For example, having "pre owned" in your negative keyword list makes sense if you are an electronics store, but doesn't make sense if you are a car dealership. Unlike the majority of these other groups, these customers are looking to buy, but either at a significant discount or even a knockoff of your product.

  • pre owned
  • second hand
  • counterfeit
  • secondhand
  • coupon
  • closeout
  • used
  • fake
  • sweepstakes
  • faux
  • free
  • preowned
  • rebate
  • rebates
  • samples

PPC Negative Keywords - Reviews and Research

Negative Keywords For Pay Per Click - Reviews and Research

Research related keywords stem from users who are prepping for purchase. They want to read reviews, see satisfaction scores, compare products. The buying stiumulus has already taken place, now they just need to validate the product or service is worth their investment. At this stage, it is likely still too early to pay for their traffic.

  • blog
  • blogs
  • compare
  • comparison
  • score
  • price
  • scores
  • scoring
  • comparisons
  • forums
  • review
  • research
  • reviewing
  • reviews
  • definition
  • statistics

Pay per click marketing can be a great platform to getting new customers in the door, but with every single click costing you money, you have to make sure you aren't wasting any of your budget with consumers you have no chance of converting.

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