Pessimism Really Can Pay (Per Click)

Types of Matches in AdWords
There are 4 types of matches that you can use in Google AdWords: Broad Match, Exact Match, Phrase Match, and Negative Keyword. I can tell you that from my own experience, I have (many times) simply set up ads without bothering to change my options (Broad Match is the default.) However, let me share a bit with you about how this kind of backfired on me.

Another of My Tedious Examples
I had a client who sold large equipment. They had a good PPC campaign, with lots of conversions on top keywords and their brand name. I had a meeting with them to talk about how we could improve the paid campaign–immediately, the client starts to type in things like “worst x equipment dealers ever” and “x equipment that will kill and maim your family and neighbors” and asking why their site showed up. I was somewhat at a loss, since those weren’t phrases I would normally have thought to exclude using the Negative Keyword option.

As I mentioned, the entire campaign was set to Broad Match so the client was showing up for any phrase that was even remotely related to their keywords. While I was able to determine that, many times, they received conversions from keyword phrases that I would have never thought to add to the campaign (and that’s how I justified using the Broad Match), I did reconsider the Negative Keyword option. Obviously there is no way I could have excluded every possible permutation of their keywords that would be negative, but you get the point. There’s a place for this option, especially if you take notes on what searches your crazy client performed so that they wouldn’t be able to repeat this in the future and humiliate you further.

Zebra-Striped Man Thong
If you aren’t selling a particular item and can exclude it on paid ads, do so. It’s worth taking the time to set this up because otherwise you’re going to waste your money when a user clicks and then doesn’t find what he or she is looking for. The flipside argument to this is that, in doing this, you may lose a potential buyer who might not find the zebra-striped man thong but will then find the leopard-print man thong. I must pause a minute to shudder before continuing…ok. I’m not saying that you should spend all your time figuring out which keywords to mark as negative. However, it makes a lot of sense in many cases.

Tiny Satin Shorts for Really Obese People
Do some research and see what keywords people are using to find your site. If you can track the path from a user typing in a certain phrase, clicking through a paid ad, and not buying ANYTHING, consider this as a Negative Keyword match, particularly if it happens more than once. If you get lots of people coming through your paid ads by using the phrase “tiny satin shorts for really obese people” and you don’t sell that item (and thanks for that AND I am happy to report that when I typed that into Google, I saw zero paid ads for it) but you do sell shorts, please consider putting “tiny satin shorts for really obese people” on your list of Negative Keywords. Please. I beg you.

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