5 Compelling Reasons Why Every Small Business Owner Should Use Negative Keywords In Their Google Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Are you looking for ways to use your adwords dollars more cost effectively?  Have you ever asked yourself “what can I do to make sure my ads are not showing or clicked on for certain undesirable keyword phrases?” How can I get my cost per lead minimized?

If you are looking to ensure that your Adwords campaign is attracting real, prequalified leads to your website (such as people with intent to make a purchase or transaction), it’s time to take a stand against irrelevant search queries.

Many business owners do not know that you can program your Google Adwords campaign in a way that prevents your ads from showing when certain undesirable keywords (irrelevant search queries) are typed into Google.

Words that people type into search engines for which we do NOT want to trigger our ads from showing up in search results (causing what is called an Impression) are called negative keywords.

For example, let’s say you provide a premium product or service. Words like “cheap” or “free” may bring in poor quality leads who will not pay your prices. Another example is if you are a general contractor and you want to bring in customers, not people looking for employment. Some negative keywords you might use are “jobs” “job” “employment” etc. If you add these to your negative keywords lists, your ads will stop triggering for these words.

Google does not go out of its way to tell you about negative keywords because the more keywords your ads trigger for, the more clicks you will get…and the more money Google will make! But, all of the tools are there for you to take control over your ad campaign.

A recent client worked with us to find out why they had spent thousands on Adwords but were getting undesirable inquiries. The keywords reports showed that 70% of all ads were being clicked on by people seeking employment! With some changes, the ads are much more targeted now; they are spending the same amount of money but getting twice the number of calls; the phone is ringing regularly; and the RIGHT traffic is coming to their website.

The lesson: Bringing in the wrong leads costs you money, waste resources and leads to poorer return on investment (ROI). Carefully constructing and managing your Google Adwords campaigns on an ongoing basis in a way that only triggers your ads from desirable keywords is very important to getting better results.

What you can do:. Make a list of all the words you believe could bring the wrong audience to your website and then go to your keywords tab in Google Adwords. Scroll down and look on the left. You will see an option for “Negative Keywords.”


Click on it. You will have an option to add negative keywords at the Ad Group level, or on the right, at the Campaign level.  If the words apply globally to your campaign, click “Add” on the drop down menu in the Campaign level area. Click on “Add keywords.” Then, add your negative keywords here.  Click save and you are done. In five minutes you can already be significantly upgrading the quality of your campaign. Use Google’s Help forum for more intricate details.

In case you are not convinced yet, here are five reasons why using negative keywords is a crucial part of the search engine marketing process and you should learn how you can use them (or have your internet marketing company do it):

•    Prohibit your pay-per-click advertisements from appearing to customers who are searching for a service that is different from what you actually offer. By using negative keywords in your search engine marketing process, you can better ensure that only prospects interested in your specific services are clicking on your advertisements.

•    Show your pay-per-click advertisements to an audience who is more likely to click on them. Negative keywords create a specialized target audience who has genuine interest in what services your company offers. By separating the market through the use of negative keywords, you can focus on a group that will not only go about clicking your advertisement, but will then make the effort to inquire more information about your company and ultimately benefit from the services you offer.

•    Improve your conversion rate. In the realm of search engine marketing, a conversion score is the percentage of people who click on your online advertisement and then actually go about taking an action such as e.g. using your service, buying a product, calling you etc. A low conversion rate and not using negative keywords often go hand-in-hand since the room for random clicks is significantly higher. A higher conversion rate proves that the money you are spending on advertising is effectively being spent.

•    Prevent misleading impressions. If someone clicks on your online advertisement, yet realizes your service is not what they are looking for, they can become frustrated and bounce back to search engines. Keeping people engaged on your site is very much related to your user experience; however, it is equally related to meeting the visitor’s expectations in terms of what content will be on the page. Every click matters and negative keywords help guarantee that the impressions your advertisements make on people is solely positive.

•    Reduce costs by excluding keywords that do not pertain to your company. With pay-per-click advertising, you are spending money on every click of your advertisement, but you may not be getting a return. Sooner or later, each irrelevant click can severely add up to a large waste of money. The simple use of negative keywords can truly help your return on investment and ensure the money you are spending on advertising is well spent.

And this is what Google says about negative keywords on their website:

“With negative keywords, you can:

  • Prevent your ad from showing to people searching for or visiting websites about things you don’t offer.
  • Show your ads to people who are more likely to click them.
  • Reduce costs by excluding keywords where you might be spending money but not getting a return.”

So, if marketing your business better and saving money sound like something you would like to do, try using negative keywords going forward.

If you do not have time or this is not something you are interested in doing, call a professional internet marketing consultant who will help you. Feel free to reach out to us at (516) 610-0922 with any questions.


Good luck!


Doug Betensky

Upside Business Consultants