- Look for trends and patterns
While running search query report, go beyond checking just the terms with the highest number of impressions, clicks or spend. It might happen that keywords from the end of your search query report are actually ruining your performance. Carefully examine the list of all phrases which triggered your ads. Sometimes the irrelevant term or phrase appears in many low-volume searches but if you sum up all the impressions it generated, it will make a large number.
- Find the smallest common denominator
To take full advantage of the negative keywords, always try to exclude the smallest thing they share in common. If phrases like ‘new tyres for bikes’, ‘buy bikes tire 28 x 1.40’ and ‘where do I buy bike tyres for bmx” appear in your search query report and you don’t sell tire bikes, exclude the word ‘bikes’ in phrase match. This is much more efficient than adding every single term individually and will help you to maintain order in you negative keyword list. Don’t forget to add plural/singular forms, abbreviations, synonyms of the keyword that triggered your ad. In the example above, it’s reasonable to exclude not only the word „bikes” but also „bike”, „bicycle”, „bicycles” etc.
- Avoid overlapping the keywords
If you have separate campaigns for different products, make sure to include them as negatives in other respective campaigns. Let’s say that you have one campaign for „books” and the other for „magazines”. If you have a broad keyword „cheap books”, you’re likely matching to a wide variety of queries with magazine ads. The only way to prevent Google from choosing to serve an ad to the wrong search query is simply excluding this query. In the example below, in the campaign „books” you should exclude „magazines” and accordingly in the campaign „magazines” – the phrase „books”. This way you direct people to the right landing page. You can also much more easily judge performance and be better informed to make optimizations.
- Exclude underperforming keyword
When you decide to pause certain keyword because it never seems to perform well, don’t forget to add it to your negative list. It will prevent your ads from showing for broad or phrase keywords.
- Test, test and test!
The decision of selecting the negative keywords must be based on your marketing goals and budget, not on your intuition. Exclude the keywords that are completely irrelevant to your business eg. „men shoes” when you offer only shoes for women, name of the movie, brands you don’t have in offer etc. Be very careful about assuming that some keywords containing „free”, „cheap”, „opinions”, „how to” won’t work. If you exclude some phrases without consideration, you might be losing some opportunities! As far as your budget lets you, create a new campaign / ad group and test their performance. Let the data speak for itself!