Using negative keywords in Adwords

Maintaining a relevant list of negative keywords & phrases is a great way to ensure that you Adwords spend is being used wisely.
However, you need to be sure that you’re not adversely impacting your campaign by selecting the word ‘negative’ words.

1. Make negatives phrase match unless you have a well thought out good reason not to even if it is just one word.
If you use the broad term ‘free’ without being a phrase match you might stop freedom or freelance. 

2. Don’t just make something a negative because you think it is irrelevant.
It could be relevant and you just don’t know why. I never assume I understand searchers. It could be you should be making a new ad group, not a negative. Remember, not everybody thinks like you. 

3. Audit your negative list every once in a while. Things may have changed. Keywords that used to not work might work now. 

4. Be very careful when using conversion data to pick negative keywords. If you ever go look in your “Top Conversion Path” report in Google Analytics and set it to “search query” you will see that many times people try lots of different keywords before they buy something.  The important thing is to make sure any keyword you set as a negative was not part of a chain. It is ok to break the chain if it is a bad chain. Just make sure you have all the information before you ban that keyword. 

5. Use a lowest common denominator approach. Don’t do exact match negatives that are long. Find 2 or 3 words that are clearly bad as a phrase or broad match and use that. It will help keep your list manageable. You can block a thousand search queries by just using a good phrase match.