Choosing The Right Keywords For Your Ad Campaigns (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article series your were introduced to the important and elementary aspects of keyword research and how they apply to your ad campaigns. We also outlined the various keyword match types and their different behaviours when applied to a search engine query.

In this article we’ll continue with the subject of keyword match types and also talk a bit about evaluating the keywords which you are researching so that you can ensure that you are choosing the most relevant keyword for your AdWords campaign.

There is one very important match type which we haven’t talked about yet but which you need to be familiar with if you want to succeed with your ad campaigns. This is known as the negative keywords match type and it will help you to eliminate the traffic which causes unwanted costly clicks on your ads.

So let’s delve a bit more into negative keywords.

Negative Keywords

So with our understanding from part 1 of the three basic keyword match types and their effect on search results, let’s explore another very important match type known as negative keywords  which can help you protect your ad campaign from irrelevant traffic.

Negative keywords can help increase the relevance of your ads, and as a consequence, increase your quality scores, conversion rates and ultimately improve your return on investment (ROI).

Some web marketers who use AdWords consider negative keywords the most important match type of all due to the fact that it helps to filter out irrelevant clicks which come from unwanted traffic.

After all, wasting your advertising money on clicks or impressions from users who are never likely to buy your product defeats the purpose of showing your ad and also negatively affects your profit.

So what are negative keywords?

Negative keywords operate in an inverse way to the 3 match types we’ve already discussed – and just in case you’ve forgotten, they were the broad, phrase or exact match type.

So previously we were telling google AdWords to show our ad for certain keywords using one or a combination of these match types.

But when using negative keywords, we are instructing google to NOT show our ads for particular search terms.

For example if I am selling high quality leather shoes and I want to aim for people who are prepared to spend over $1000, then I will most probably have the following negative keywords programmed into my ad campaign:

cheap, fake, discount, imitation etc

By using negative keywords like this, I will be able to account for people using search terms such as “buy cheap leather shoes” and make sure that they will not see my ad.

A negative keyword match is indicated by the use of the minus sign (-) in front of the keyword you wish to NOT display your ad for.

(Note: You can even use this technique when simply searching for something using google search and you want to exclude results for certain words or terms)

If you do not account for the irrelevant traffic by failing to use negative keywords, your ad will suffer in more ways than one. For starters you may end up blowing your daily budget quite quickly due to the irrelevant clicks and your quality score will also be affected.

Google defines quality score as:

A measurement of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad”.

So how can one find negative keywords?

The best way to find negative keywords for your particular search term is to use the google keyword tool which we mentioned in the article in part 1.

Quite often when you are researching your keywords using the keyword tool, not only are you finding keyword ideas to use in your ad campaign, but you will also be able to identify some negative keywords in the displayed results too.

For instance let’s take an extreme example such as the Paris Hilton Hotel in France. If you owned this hotel and wanted to run an AdWords campaign for it, then negative keywords are something you will have to include into your campaign.

For obvious reasons the search term “paris hilton” will turn up a significant volume of irrelevant search traffic because of the huge popularity of the celebrity who goes under the same name.

Thus the majority of the people who are searching the term “paris hilton” will not be interested in the slightest about booking a room at your hotel.

When typing this into the keyword tool to get some ideas for your research, you’ll notice that you also get a huge amount of negative keyword candidates such as:

  • paris hilton shoes
  • paris hilton perfume
  • paris hilton video
  • paris hilton pregnant
  • paris hilton youtube
  • …..etc.

In the example above the words in bold would be considered as your negative keywords because they have no relevance to your hotel business.

So by using these negative keywords in your ad campaign you can exclude your ad from being displayed to the wrong people who are looking for things related to gossip, tv celebrity, fashion accessories, perfume etc.

In other words you want to make sure that your ad is shown only for people who are searching to book a room in your hotel in Paris.

Once you have compiled a list of your negative keywords for your particular ad campaign, you can enter these in your google AdWords interface in the section specifically alloted for negative keywords.

In essence, finding negative keywords should actually be done simultaneously during the keyword research phase when you are looking for your general keyword ideas.

You should always keep in mind that identifying negative keywords is a crucial element to any successful AdWords campaign because it will significantly increase your ROI and save you money by preventing irrelevant clicks and increasing your quality score.

Evaluating keywords

Now that you know about keyword research and how to protect your traffic using different keyword match types, you’re ready to start delving into the types of things that you should keep in mind when composing your keyword strategy.

As discussed in part 1, keywords are basically evaluated in terms of:

  • Keyword frequency (or size of the search)
  • Relevance
  • Competition/cost

Let’s briefly look at each of these concepts.

Keyword Frequency

When we refer to keyword frequency, we’re talking about search volume or how often people are actually typing this keyword into google when they’re doing searches.

If you target keywords that have very little or no traffic, then no matter how high or low you bid you will see no clicks on your ads because not enough people are searching for your term.

You therefore want to make sure that the keywords you target have enough search volume which will allow your ad to be triggered and displayed in front of your potential customers.

You can use the google keyword tool to determine the search volume of your keyword by looking at the “Global Monthly” or “Local Monthly Searches” columns.

Just keep in mind that there is a fine trade-off between frequency and relevance and like we discussed earlier, you also want to avoid wasting money on keywords which have too much search volume and little relevance.


Your AdWords success really begins with selecting keywords which are relevant to the products and services which you are offering.

If I sell espresso coffee machines then I want eliminate any person who is not interested in buying my coffee machine. This includes people who are not yet ready to buy and are only researching coffee machines by looking for “coffee machine reviews”.

For instance if someone looking for a coffee machine review landed on my page and did not find a review, then they will most likely leave my site without buying.

However if I used more relevant keywords such as “buy espresso coffee machine” or “buy coffee machine online” then my chances of getting people who are ready to buy a coffee machine to click on my ad are very good.

As mentioned in part 1, the best thing to do when constructing your AdWords campaigns, is to put yourself in your potential customers shoes by trying to see things from their perspective.

The next factor we need to consider when evaluating our keywords is the competition or cost.


The way AdWords works is that you’re essentially competing against others in an auction for the keywords which you are targeting in your campaigns.

As in regular auctions, the most popular keyword terms will always be more expensive than the less popular terms. The more people you have to compete with for a term the more money you will need to spend on your campaign.

The good news is however that the most popular and expensive keywords may not always be the best for your business or product. The fact is that most people throw their money at inefficient campaigns because they fail to do their keyword research properly.

For example they might blindly use keywords which are expensive and high in frequency but low in relevance.

This means that you can have an edge on your competition by way of better preparation and research in the way you select your keywords.

Long tail keywords for instance are typically less expensive than single-word or shorter keywords but they can be extremely targeted and very effective in converting clicks.

Long tail keywords are typically characterised by the fact that they tend to consist of more words and are very specific and targeted.

Below is an example of a long-tail keyword:

Buy Panasonic VIERA 50-Inch Plasma TV

You can bet that someone clicking on an ad for the above keyword will be ready to buy that particular product.

As with the previous qualities, there has to be a balance when selecting a keyword based on cost or competition. Even though you may have found a very relevant and well priced keyword, but if it gets no searches per month you won’t be getting any clicks or conversions.

Note that when conducting your research you can use the google keyword tool from your within your AdWords account to get an approximate cost-per-click value for your keyword by looking at the “Approximate CPC” column.

In summary the most important thing to remember when evaluating your keywords is that you need to consider all 3 of the above qualities together. That is, how frequently is your keyword being searched, how relevant is it to the products and services that you offer and how competitive and expensive will it be for you to bid on this term.

That concludes this brief introduction to keywords and how they apply to ad campaigns such as AdWords. Hopefully this two part article has at least given you a stepping stone for finding out more about this crucial Internet marketing tool.

Comments (4 responses)

  1. “The fact is that most people throw their money at inefficient campaigns because they fail to do their keyword research properly.”

    Uh….yeah. That’s me. After reading these 2 posts, I feel like an idiot. Need to go back and rework my ads – which will most definitely involve negative keywords. Thanks for the information.

  2. When I first realized how “negative keywords” worked and what it did – I raised my conversionrate on my landingpage with 35-37% because of much higher relevance on the visitors coming from Adwords. Fantastic tool.

  3. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.
    I would be happy if google could offer a keyword analyzer for adwords.

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