Simple Steps for Building Your Negative Keyword List

Posted at 05/07/2021

If you’ve ever tried to create an effective SEO campaign, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time working on your keywords. Extensive research and proper usage of the right keywords can result in more clicks, higher conversion, and more traffic to your website. Plus, it can help you meet your business goals and bring you closer to your short and long term goals as well. This is why a good SEO Agency will put a significant amount of effort into creating a negative keywords list.

However, not a lot of people spend as much time, effort and energy building their negative keyword list. This is mostly because most people aren’t fully aware of how crucial a role negative keywords play in maximising the return on investment (ROI) and increasing the chances of your SEO campaign’s success. In fact, some research shows that almost half of the advertisers don’t add a single negative keyword to their content over the course of a month.

Basically, they’re missing out on a lot of potential to maximise the effectiveness of their overall PPC spend by not paying enough attention to their negative SEO list. So, if you’ve been making the same mistakes, read on to learn the basics about a negative keywords list and how to build one that effectively increases organic traffic to your site.

What Are Negative Keywords?

The main purpose of an SEO campaign is to make your content as relevant as possible so that it ranks higher on Google and other search platforms. It basically works like an auction. By bidding the right keywords and making a relevant ad or content piece, you stand a higher chance of showing up in the search results and getting your product or service in front of an interested audience.

However, it is no use when your ad appears in front of an uninterested audience. This can be an issue if you are using pay-per-click as an advertisement module and are paying for every time a person clicks the link to your website. So how do you prevent uninterested people from flocking your website? That is where a negative keyword list can come into play.

For example, let’s consider your company is producing and selling calendars. Most likely, potential customers will be looking up phrases such as “calendar”, “monthly calendars”, or “calendar 2021”. These will certainly be high result keywords, but will also likely have a lot of competition. To narrow down things a bit more, you can bid keywords specific to the calendars you are selling, such as “kittens calendars” or “calendars with mountains” because you just know that somewhere, someone is looking for just that.

However, if you’re selling hard-copy calendars that can be used by your customers to decorate their office cubicles or kitchens, you likely don’t want your product to show up when people search phrases such as “online calendar” or “printable calendar”. These will trigger ads that won’t bring you any potential customers, yet will require you to pay for their clicks. The easiest and most effective way to exclude them from your campaign is to include them in a negative keyword list.

Negative keywords tell Google and other online search platforms that these search queries are not relevant to your business or service, so your website doesn’t attract traffic that won’t lead to any sales.

For instance, phrases like “Mayan calendar”, “Gregorian calendar” or “Chinese Calendar” won’t do you any good unless those are the types of calendars you are selling.

And yet, people looking for these calendars might end up clicking on your website. Therefore, this causes you to waste a lot of money on irrelevant keywords and does not deliver much in the way of ROI. Therefore, you won’t be making the most out of your PPC budget and pushing your business goals one small step away at a time.

How to Find Negative Keywords for Your Campaign

There are a lot of ways you can come up with a negative keywords list. While it requires some thought and effort, the process itself isn’t that difficult and taking the right steps can help you achieve your purpose more easily.

Similar to coming up with a list of keywords for your SEO campaign, you can make a list of negative keywords by simply examining actual user query data based on how people search online. Tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner and Search Terms Report can be used for this purpose.

  Keyword Planner for Negative Keywords

The main purpose of Google Ads Keyword is to help you find the most effective keywords that you can add to your content and ads to increase their reach. This is because Google doesn’t exactly mind if you spend a few extra dollars on clicks – whether you need them or not. However, learning how to use this amazing tool properly can help you generate a list of negative keywords just as well as relevant keywords. While Google may not provide you with a definitive negative keyword list for your campaign, it can certainly provide you with ideas for the list.

For instance, when you search a term like “calendars”, Google will provide you with a list of all the related keywords searches, as well as some data on their search and volume competition. Depending on the niche of your business, you’ll most likely see a lot of terms that aren’t relevant to what you’re selling, some of which have already been discussed above. When you see such terms and keywords that won’t bring you any potential buyers, you can consider adding them to your negative keyword list.

  Search Term Reports

Once your website is up and running, Search Terms Report can show you actual search terms being typed by people who are clicking your links. Once you have a better idea about the type of search queries triggering your ads on search platforms, you can begin analysing the list and put together both negative and positive keyword lists. If done right, this method can yield some very powerful results.

You can start by sorting your Search Terms Report by the highest number of impressions. This provides you with a list of search queries that are more likely to trigger your ads on Google. Further on, this data can be refined to show which terms have higher click-through and rates of conversations. People don’t often realise what an eye-opener Search Terms Reports can be.

Terms you previously thought would yield impeccable results may not be performing as well, while other terms that you didn’t think would work might be generating the most traffic to your website. In case some terms aren’t working well to generate results, you may want to consider adding them to your negative keywords list. Even if they are related to your business, they are of no use if they aren’t bringing in results.

  Get Creative With Your Negative Keywords

Most people can make things work by just following the above two steps to create a negative keywords list. However, if you really want your business to really rake in top results, it is a good idea to take things a little further. One thing that is most likely to pay in the long run is to get creative with your negative keywords. This concept can be a bit intimidating to most marketers to the extent that they may consider skipping it altogether. Don’t be that person. Take a little extra time to work on this and you’ll notice a huge advantage to your business.

The reason most people get intimidated by this step is that it requires a little more homework, and you can’t just use Google Ads Keyword Planner for this purpose. You need to put your mind to it. For instance, think about someone searching up “calendar girls” and ending up on your calendar website. Chances are slim that they are actually looking for calendars with kittens or scenery, or that they are looking for calendars at all. They’re likely looking for the 2003 British movie with the same name, the comedy drama from 1993 featuring Jason Priestly, or even that song by Neil Sedaka all the way back from 1961.

Either way, you are not likely to get a potential visitor to your site, but you may end up wasting some money on PPC, just because the person looking up a song from 1961 was bored. Adding “calendar girls” to your negative keywords list can be a good step in this case.

  Search Assist

Another very effective tool people tend to overlook is the search assist feature. You know how you type a single letter on Google or any other online search platform and it instantly drops down a menu of the most relevant searches from that letter? As you continue typing, it continues to update the relevant searches without wasting any time. Using this feature in any search engine can be very telling.

As you type the more common keywords related to your product or service, it will instantly start spitting out suggestions of more relevant keywords. An effective method to find the most common negative keywords to your service is to enter your highest traffic keywords into search engines and see what suggestions are being shown. If any of these suggestions are irrelevant to your business, add them to your negative keyword lists.

  Competitor Research

Doing competitive research on Google is another excellent way of discovering more negative keywords. Just perform a google search of your primary keywords and analyse the results. Are there any results that aren’t relevant to your business on the first couple of pages? Add them to your negative keywords list. Any terms and phrases that don’t seem transactional should also be added to your negative keywords list.

However, make sure to be smart while following this process. Don’t mindlessly add any result that you feel is irrelevant to your business without thinking about it. Create a list of negative keywords and then go over it again to make sure that you haven’t accidentally added anything that might potentially generate results. Always analyse the situation and put your thought into it while working on your keywords.

Here’s Why You Should Choose TopRankings for Your SEO Campaign

While there are many steps that you can take to create an effective SEO campaign, you don’t always need to do it yourself – not when there are people out there who can work around the clock to create an effective strategy while you focus on your business.

At TopRankings, we offer our clients the best SEO services in the market. We help you build a strong online presence that will help your website rank higher on search platforms and increase your business. Unlike most other services that make false promises, our SEO agency will work with you while mutually agreeing on targets that will give your trackable results. Remember, your success is our success. So, we won’t be satisfied until your goals are met.

Contact us so we can work with you to create an effective SEO campaign for your business. 


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