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Using negative keywords to give finer control of traffic

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# 1
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Good afternoon guys,


I want to use negatives to better control which adgroup is triggered for specific keywords and key phrases but it can be tricky.


Example setup; two Adgroups "Gas Boilers" and "Worcester Bosch Boilers".


Each adgroup is setup with phrase, exact and BMM keywords. A search for Worcester Bosch Gas Boilers could potentially trigger ads in both adgroups. My preference would be for them to be sent to the Worcester Bosch Boilers adgroup in this instance. I can simply add a negative keyword -worcester-or -[worcester bosch] to the Gas Boilers Adgroup.


Previously however, I have made silly mistakes such as adding -[Gas Boilers] as all other adgroups except the Gas Boilers adgroup, so that if somebodies search term contained Gas Boilers, it would only trigger ads within the Gas Boilers adgroup. In the moment, the logic seems sound, but it is not until later that you realise you've blocked terms you didn't intend to block.


In this example, anybody searching Worcester Bosch Gas Boilers would no longer trigger ads in EITHER Adgroup. Huge issue!


What I am looking for, is a solid methodology, that will help avoid making this kind of mistake on a big account. Maybe I just need to think things through better? Smiley Very Happy


Any ideas would be welcomed.


Thanks a lot.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Using negative keywords to give finer control of traffic

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Paul M I think you're on the right track with the "thinking things through" approach Smiley Happy


Personally I prefer to use as few negatives as possible; I prefer to use more precise and restrictive positives so that negatives are unnecessary.  As you've noted, one of the biggest problems of using too many negatives is that you risk excluding valuable and legitimate traffic.  To use your examples, I might end up using only an exact match for [gas boilers] so avoiding the risk of it triggering against 'worcester gas boilers'.  Of course, you must make sure you're not losing out on valuable traffic, but I'm sure you get the point.  So, you may be able to simplify things substantially by breaking down your common search terms into key phrases that don't "crossover", building your Ad Groups around these.


Don't panic too much over "conflicting" Ad Groups.  We see a lot of people here who worry when two or more Keywords can match to the same query but there's really no problem with this, AdWords will choose the best match and use it, there's no fight going on.  The only thing you have to worry about is showing the most relevant Ad and landing on the most relevant page, but in truth, unless you're using very broad matches, there shouldn't be a situation where two (or more) Keywords can match the same query and where those two Keywords need a different Ad / landing page.



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Re: Using negative keywords to give finer control of traffic

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# 3
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If you add [gas boilers] as a negative to the ad group for Worcester Bosch Boilers it will NOT block the search query "Worcester Bosch Gas Boilers". This is because you are using an exact match negative. If you added the negative "gas boilers" as a phrase match, then yes, that would block more queries than you wish.

In general, you should be using broad and phrase match negatives when you are trying to block a wide range of potential irrelevant searches, and exact match when you are trying to funnel traffic. So you basically have a campaign set up with Ad Groups like:

Gas Boilers
Worcester Bosch Gas Boilers
Brand B Gas Boilers
Brand C Gas Boilers

You would want to add the brand names as broad and/or phrase match negatives to each of the other ad groups, and then add the most common generic searches as exact match keywords to each of the branded ad groups.