I thought this week I'd take a short departure from SEO tactics and talk to you briefly about PPC. Yeah -- who knew? I found a little bit of PPC knowledge in a corner of my brain I forgot existed. End result? Hopefully you will benefit from it. Let's jump into some thoughts about negative keyword lists.
First off, there are three kinds of campaigns you can run for a PPC: exact match, phrase match, and broad match. Phrase- and broad-matching campaigns are great because they allow you to target that nice juicy long tail without having to know the thousands of crazy searches that searchers use that will bring them to your site with credit cards in hand. The downside of these campaigns is that there are also thousands of phrases in the long tail that will bring traffic, but no sales. This is where negative keywords become useful. You can avoid a lot of that useless traffic.
Negative keywords, in the simplest definition, are words that you do not want your PPC ads showing up for. For example, if you are running a broad match campaign for the term "iPhone" and you put the words "free" and "cheap" in your campaign as negatives, your ad won't show for terms like "free iPhone" or "cheap iPhone." Or let's say you sell shoes, the sneaker variety. You probably don't want your ads showing for searches for "horse shoes," "brake shoes" or "snow shoes." Obviously, negative keywords are only useful in broad-match and phrase-match campaigns.
There are a bunch of reasons that you should really maximize your negative keywords. You want to stop your ads from showing for searches that:
- have low or zero conversion rates
- have high conversion costs
- have expensive CPCs
- have bad brand association
- are not relevant to you or the searcher
Hands up...how many of you use negative keywords in your PPC campaigns? How many of you use 50 negatives? 100? 500? Did you know Google allows 10,000 per campaign, or up to 5,000 per ad group? Are you using them all? Of course you're not. Do you have any idea how long it takes to cobble together a comprehensive list of negative keywords? You have to spend hours using your intuition, a thesaurus, Google's keyword tool, WordTracker, Keyword Discovery, Microsoft's Keyword Mutation Tool, a giant spreadsheet, to track it all, and a bottle of Maker's Mark to keep you on track. Or you could head over to www.negative-keywords.com.
So now you have your nice keyword list all sorted out and implemented properly. What you can you expect?
- increased CTR
- decreased bounce rate
- increased Quality Score
- increased ad ranking
- increased conversion rate
- decreased conversion cost
- increased profit
I personally know several companies that have jumped into the negative keyword challenge and built out massive lists of thousand of negatives and are reaping the benefits today. I've seen the numbers and they are outstanding. One company saved 20% on its PPC spend while maintaining the same level of sales. Do you know what they did with that 20% savings? Plowed it right back into their PPC campaign. Are you paying attention here, all you SEM agencies? Don't worry about PPC spends dropping because of this. Be prepared to impress the socks off your clients and have that savings come right back to you to keep buying all that juicy traffic.
Go forth and be negative -- it's a positive thing.