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Problem with negative keywords

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# 1
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We are having a problem with searches that don't seem to be filtering our our negative keywords, allowing ads to show... getting clicks and phone calls to our client for services they don't offer. The most recent example is a search query for "physical rehabilitation exercises". We have two of these three words in a campaign level negative list, as phrase match. The two negative keywords are "physical" and "exercises". 

Our negative keyword list has 9,500 keywords, which I believe is below the 10,000 limit per campaign. 

We also have some negatives at the ad group level.

Can anyone help with why this search query was not blocked?

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Accepted by topic author Charlie C
September 2015

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 13
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Charlie, according to the latest document dealing with limits, you may have up to 5000 negative keywords per negative keyword list: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1704396?hl=en

9500 is way over that limit. Or am I missing something?
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Charlie C
September 2015

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 15
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I'm glad we've managed to close it, I hate it when doubts start creeping in Smiley Happy. Just create two lists; split the big one down the middle and hopefully you won't have this problem anymore.

Good luck!
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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View solution in original post

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 2
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Hello;
I can guess that the issue is not with the negative keywords, but rather with the "keywords " themselves. Most of them are  probably in "broad match" (that include also synonyms), and those are difficult to "block", especially in more "complex" services (as the one you are offering).

I would first check the list of keywords and switch  to a broad  modifier (BMM) to avoid all synonyms that could match the search query.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 3
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Hi MosheTLV,
Thanks so much for the reply. We are using broad match modifier (BMM), phrase and exact match keywords. There are no broad match in the account. We also have keyword matching options set for all search campaigns in the account to not include close variants. We are stumped on why we're seeing this. Please let me know if any other thoughts or ideas.
Thanks,
Charlie C

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 4
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Hello again;
How many KW do you have overall?? If you are using only BMM, phrase and exact, I don't see the logic behind that many negative KWs. I have the feeling g that you are having too many negative KWs, and It's hard to figure which one would block which
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 5
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Hello, Charlie.

Can you please use the AdPreview Tool and search for "physical rehabilitation exercises"? It'll show you the keyword, ad group and the campaign that trigger your ad.

I wouldn't be surprised to see that your ad shows for another keyword, in another campaign, where maybe you do not have the negative keywords to block the ads from showing.

It is not uncommon, especially in accounts with some history, to have search terms spill into more than one ad group / campaign.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 6
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There are about 200,000 keywords in this account across a number of campaigns. Each campaign is organized into tightly focused themes by ad group. Our clients industry has very many different types of services and we're tasked with focusing their budget on their specific category and preventing leads coming to them that are not related to their particular service.

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 7
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Calin, thanks for your reply. We went to the Search Term report, where we spend time daily, to find the actual search query (physical rehabilitation exercises). That provided the ad group and keyword that triggered the ad. We're just frustrated that having two of the three words in the query as phrase match negatives did not block our ad from serving. Is it possible that AdWords, which has raised the account limits significantly, may be having a problem processing the data? We're just trying to understand where the issue is and how we might adjust the campaigns for our clients without negatively impacting conversions.
Charlie C

Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 8
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I understand, Charlie. I hope the negative was not added after that search term was registered.

Can you please run the search term now, and see if it still triggers?

I don't think there's a data processing issue, but then I cannot, of course, be 100% certain.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 9
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Hi Charlie, 200k Keywords is a lot regardless of the industry.  I'm willing to bet that if you were to apply a filter to these Keywords over a period of 3 months for those with fewer than, say, 10 clicks you'd find a very large number that are doing absolutely no good for your Campaign(s).

 

Google recommends that Ad Groups should normally consist of no more than about 20 Keywords each and in my experience in most Groups even of this size there will be only a handful that really perform.  Chasing a long list of underperforming (or completely non-performing) terms is ultimately self-defeating as these Keywords "drag down" the performance of all others in the Account and, as you've found, introduce other related issues.

 

Jon

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Re: Problem with negative keywords

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# 10
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AdWiser, thanks for your reply.

I entered the search query as you suggested (physical rehabilitation exercises) in the AdPreview tool. Our ads do not show so the negative keywords apparently work in the Ad Preview tool. That is positive. However, looking at the search term report over the last 30 days I see a search query with physical six times. That still brings me back to whether Google, with its sensational technology, has possibly stretched the limits too far on allowing us to have ever increasing numbers of keywords, negative keywords, etc. What would be good to know is if, in practice, there are smaller limits that we should plan on that would allow us to adjust this account - maybe with more campaigns that contain fewer positive and negative keywords. Because of the nature of our clients business, we do need the breadth and depth of keywords in the account to justify their significant budget commitment to AdWords. Is it possible to get Google to comment on this somehow?