Go Negative: How negative keywords improve your Search Engine ROI

June 1, 2011

Negative SEOGenerally speaking, people tend to shy away from things described as negative. Positivity seems to be one of those American traits ‘ like hard work, honesty, and risk taking ‘ which we are supposed to embrace as keys to business success.

Being negative is usually associated with overbearing fathers, trashy political ads, rude mothers-in-law and people over the age of 75 talking about ‘the kids today’. We’re all supposed to be positive. I doubt that Norman Vincent Peale could have sold 20 million copies of “The Power of Negative Thinking.

But when it comes to running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engine advertising campaigns, going negative pays big dividends. While the idea of negative keywords is not cutting edge, many small-to-medium sized businesses are unfamiliar with the concept and don’t use it to their advantage, especially if they self-manage their Web Marketing effort.

PPCHere is a basic example of how negative keywords can be used effectively: Let’s say you run an HVAC business near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but your local service area only includes Forth Worth. By including the negative keyword “Dallas” in your PPC campaign, when someone searches for “HVAC Dallas,” your ad won’t show up on their results page.

Negative keywords are essential to building a successful PPC campaign. By preventing your ad from showing up to potential customers who don’t fit your target, negative keywords allow search engines to only deliver results to potential customers who are interested in what you are selling. The takeaway is that whoever manages your PPC or Google AdWords campaign ‘ even if that manager is you ‘ should use negative keywords. The investment result is more bang for your buck by way of a better “click-to-call” response ratio.

Google’s own help section encourages negative keywords:

By filtering out unwanted impressions, negative keywords can help you reach the most appropriate prospects, reduce your cost-per-click (CPC), and increase your ROI.

Adding negative keywords is simple if you are already familiar with how to add positive keywords. If you are a DIY’er there is a “Negative Keywords” button on the Keyword entry page inside Google AdWords. If you prefer the benefit of a do-it-for-me service provider, then the PPC agency you hired should include it. But it can’t hurt to confirm this with your vendor. Note, if you rely heavily on the Internet for sales leads, you are very likely running multiple PPC campaigns at one time and should certainly be using uniquely defined negative keywords across all of them.

If you are working with Market Hardware to run your PPC campaigns, you are already saving money and increasing the quality of your responses by using negative keywords. If you are not running PPC with Market Hardware and you’d like a free analysis of your current PPC program, even if it’s just to keep another vendor honest, contact us.

Click the button below and take our survey. We’ll give you a free consultation on how we can help. Our system helps hundreds of small business owners lower their cost-per-lead so their advertising dollars bring back more sales.

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If you have been on the fence about launching a PPC campaign or waiting for a kick in the pants to “do something” to get more online business, let my words be your motivation.

Pay-Per-Click advertising on Google, Yahoo, and Bing is an incredibly effective weapon that delivers quality targeted leads. Remember that leads from PPC consist of folks who have already researched your website and feel confident about doing business with you. Don’t forget, PPC’s supporting technology makes tracking your actual cost-per-lead investment easy. So improve your PPC by using negative keywords to optimize your campaign. It will drive your costs down and help you land the new customers you really want. Checkout Market Hardware if you want honest, helpful advice.



Power Stats:

In 2011, US online advertising spending will reach $31.3 billion, a 20.2% increase over 2010 spending.

Source: eMarketer, June, 2011





‘Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power’

Shirley MacLaine, famous film actress

Griff’s Last Stand’

If you ever lift weights as part of your exercise regimen, you likely focus most on the positive part of any specific routine. Any time you lift a weight, it is considered a positive rep, while the lowering of the weight is a negative rep. Studies have found that both positive and negative repetitions are important for getting stronger. There is a lesson to be learned here when it comes to PPC. Negatives can help you succeed on the Web (and in the weight room). It’s the power of negativity.


This article was written by Market Hardware’s Griffin Davis. Reach Griffin at [email protected] or reach anyone on his web expert team at (888) 381-6925.


Email or call us at (888) 381-6925 for a free Search Engine Marketing consultation. A friendly and knowledgeable consultant will give you tips on PPC, SEO, and local search (social media too). Tell them ‘Griff told me to ask about negative keywords’ and we’ll do our best to make you feel positive about going negative.


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