Today at WordStream, we’ve released the world’s first Free Negative Keyword Tool for improving your click-through rates (CTR) and Quality Score, which in turn can significantly improve your return on investment across your entire PPC account. For a quick take on the new tool, you can:
- Read the official press release
- Watch a 2-minute video demo
- Read the FAQ
- Or simply try it out yourself!
In this post, I’d like to talk a little about how this new tool was designed and why I feel it's a valuable resource for anyone doing PPC marketing.
Why You Should Care about Negative Keyword Research
If you only had time for one keyword optimization task for an existing PPC account, I would suggest finding negative keywords – whenever I look at a client’s search query report, there are always tons of junk search queries generating clicks for their ads, a waste of the client's budget.
But there's an even better reason to leverage negative keyword research – the junk searches that don’t generate clicks. These wasted impressions lower your click-through rate, which lowers your Quality Score, which in turn raises the cost-per-click across your entire account and even reduces your impression share and ad position! It has been estimated that effective usage of negative keywords can result in account-wide savings of between 5% and 40%!
The Sad State of Negative Keyword Research Today
Unfortunately, traditional methods of negative keyword research have limited effectiveness at best, and are absolutely murderous at worse. Here are the options that were available to PPC marketers before today:
- Reviewing Search Query Performance Reports: These reports can be thousands or millions of lines long and they take forever to review. And they're backwards-looking – you only find out about the damage after it's occurred in your account.
- Using Pre-Made Negative Keyword Lists: These are lists of generic word modifiers like 'mp3' or 'sex' or 'free' – this cookie-cutter approach to negative keyword research is ineffective because different businesses will have differing opinions on what should be a negative keyword.
We wanted to create a better alternative – something quick and easy to use, personalized to an individual's business, and forward-looking too.
Find Negative Keywords the Easy Way
The Free Negative Keyword Tool is designed to ensure that broad match does not drive unqualified traffic. Suppose you’re a web development consulting company based in the U.S. and you want to advertise your business on Google. So you might want to start by bidding on the keyword 'web development'. Before doing that, try running that keyword through the WordStream Negative Keyword Tool by typing it in and clicking "Find Negative Keywords" as illustrated below.
WordStream will conduct a detailed analysis of your keyword. We'll scan our database of over a trillion keywords to come up with a prioritized list of the types of search queries your ads are most likely to be matched against. Your job is simply to review the list of negative keyword contenders. Are they relevant to your business – Yes or No? If not, the tool adds them to a custom negative keyword list that you can easily export as a spreadsheet.
Since your company offers consulting services, words like book, jobs, software, tools, download, India, etc. are probably good candidates for negative keywords.
However, a different company – say, a software company offering web development tools – might value those word modifiers and set different words as negative keywords. This is why the cookie-cutter approach to negative keyword lists doesn’t work.
By taking just a few minutes to review your suggestions, your ads will be better targeted out of the gate and will earn better Quality Scores from the start. This is especially important because of the role of account history in evaluating Quality Score – if your ads don't get off to a good start, that bad history will haunt you going forward!
To sum up, the benefits of using our new Free Negative Keyword Tool include:
- You'll save time and increase productivity by reviewing a prioritized list of clustered negative keyword suggestions rather than endless search query reports.
- You'll be able to stop wasteful ad spend before it happens by proactively setting personalized negative keywords and match types.
- You'll improve click-through rate and Quality Score which in turn improves your overall ROI on PPC.
Establishing A Negative Keyword Research Strategy
Negative keyword research is a critical yet under-appreciated PPC campaign optimization mechanism. To maximize PPC account success, WordStream for PPC (our premium product offering) offers tools to enable a workflow of continuous, ongoing negative keyword discovery and expansion. Here is a summary of the features:
- It uses data from both our trillion-keyword database and your own search query reports to enable both backward-looking (reactive) and forward-looking (proactive) negative keyword research.
- We look at your own keyword conversion data to prioritize the negative keyword contender list.
- Direct integration with Google AdWords via an API means that you can more easily set and manage negative keywords.
With a free trial of WordStream for PPC, you can explore these advanced negative keyword features in full.
Watch a tutorial of our Free Negative Keyword Tool to learn more: