AdWords accounts offer four main match types when it comes to keywords.
- Broad Match Modifier
Anyone new to paid search can get confused with what each match type is and how it works, so I can imagine how foreign it may be for a small business owner.
So while someone new to this area is trying to wrap those concepts around their head, they usually forget the often neglected but very important stepsister, the Negative Keyword.
Search is an ever evolving thing. AdWords changes their rules and platform every week. Sometimes it feels like every few hours. With the times, people have learned more and more about what types of words to bid for. Long are gone the days when you just threw a few hundred long tail keywords in exact match and got cheap clicks.
Not only that, but can you possibly think of every long tail keyword out there? Even if you do use some keyword research tools, build different ad groups, you’ll still see that some of the keywords are labeled low search volume and get very little to no impressions. Depending on which Google rep you speak with, it may be negatively impacting your account which makes your clicks more costly in the long run. Not to mention the clutter you’ll have with so many exact match keywords.
Enter Broad Match Modifer
Broad Match Modifier is similar to Broad Match, just much cooler. By adding a + sign in front of a keyword now your searches will come up for more related keywords. While in the past if you bid on “black shoes” in broad match, you may show up for “black sneakers”. Now we’ve eliminated that extra impression and possibly an extra click that wouldn’t connect with visitor.
What does it all mean?
Broad Match Modifier is perfect for finding new keywords you may have not thought of as a long tail keyword. It also makes the account structure less messy and easier to optimize.
While Optimizing includes things such as lowering or increasing bids, pausing keywords, and switching ad copy, there is one very important feature often overlooked; applying negatives.
Here’s an example of a keyword search I did for “plastic surgery atlanta”
I highlighted the search result that stands out. I performed this search from NYC yet it’s showing up for “plastic surgery atlanta”.
If you have a practice that provides this service, you should have every major city that you don’t serve in as a negative phrase match.
By not doing so you are showing up for a query that will most likely not get clicked on as much. This lowers your CTR and may negatively affect your quality score. That’s just geek speak for saying that it will cost you more money.
What keywords should be placed as negatives
Luckily AdWords has this wonderful thing called search query reports. They will show you what the exact keywords people are typing to click on your ads and if you have tracking setup properly they tell you which ones are converting.
To find it you can go to the Keyword tab in AdWords. Click on Details and select all. Make sure you have selected a wide range of dates. If I’m doing an overall audit, I like to go as far back as 90 days, but if it’s something that I do routinely I would go as far back as the last time I searched through the reports.
Once you look down the list focus on keywords with higher spend and clicks. Following the surgery example, words like “botched”, “wrong”, “accident”, and cities you don’t serve in should automatically be added at the campaign level. You don’t want to be paying or showing up for a search result that may associate something negative with your business.
Having a good structure in your campaign makes it much easier to apply the your negative keywords correctly. I prefer to setup my campaigns by match type. One broad match modified and one exact match. If you do go that route, make sure to apply the exact match keywords as negatives to the broad match modified campaign.
If you’re not sure where to apply the negative keywords, just go to your keyword tab, scroll all the way down, and you’ll see the options to add as an adgroup negative or a campaign negative.
There are more ways to apply negatives that give you a very granular control over what keyword query is converting. However, if you follow the advice in this article, it will probably lower your spend a bit while increasing your ctr, all good things.