What Are Negative Keywords (And How to Use Them)?

In search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are at the center of your entire marketing strategy. Whether you are using paid advertising or organic search, the right keywords put you in touch with your target audience - in this case, motivated sellers. Keywords can also position your website at the top of Google search results.

By contrast, the wrong keywords can put your website in the wrong market in front of the wrong sellers looking for something different from what you offer. These types of keywords are negative keywords. You need to know what negative keywords are, how they impact your SEO, and how to use them properly.

What Are Negative Keywords?

The answer to this question is merely a descriptor of the word and not necessarily its application (which we will answer below). So, at its core, a negative keyword is any word or phrase that is not relevant to your business or industry and could negatively impact search engine results or rankings.

Here’s an example:

Your business is naturally in the real estate industry as a real estate investor. However, not everything in real estate applies specifically to your business. Words such as ‘real estate agent’ or ‘mortgage broker’ fall under the real estate category. Therefore, if someone was to type ‘real estate agent,’ there is a good chance that your REI business would not show up in a Google search - or, at most, you would probably end up on page 10 of a search result.

For this reason, ‘real estate agent’ would be a negative keyword that you would avoid using as a primary or exclusive word in your website content.

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    Should I Use Negative Keywords?

    Yes, you should. Here’s Why:

    Use negative keywords when you want to ensure that your ad doesn't show for a particular word. By preventing your ad from showing on irrelevant searches, you save money on wasted clicks and create more opportunities for it to display on relevant searches and could lead to conversions.

    So, in other words, you can add negative keywords to your Google paid ads or paid social ads so that Google or Facebook can differentiate which words to rank your site for and which words to ignore.

    Three Main Types of Negative Keywords

    For search campaigns, you can use three main types of negative keywords

      1. Broad match

      2. Phrase match

      3. Exact match

    Broad Match Negative Keywords

    For negative broad match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains all your negative keyword terms, even if the terms are in a different order. Your ad may still show if the search contains only some of your keyword terms.

    Phrase Match Negative Keywords

    For negative phrase match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the same order. The search may include additional words, but the ad won't show as long as all the keyword terms are in the search in the same order. The search may also include additional characters to a word, and the ad will show even when the rest of the keyword terms are in the search in the same order.

    Exact Match Negative Keywords

    For negative exact match keywords, your ad won't show if the search contains the exact keyword terms, in the same order, without extra words. Your ad may still show if the search contains the keyword terms with additional words.

    When Is the Best Time to Apply Negative Keywords?

    Consider integrating negative keywords into these three main strategies.

    1. Before You Launch a PPC Campaign

    By brainstorming and researching all the irrelevant searches your ad could be shown on and setting those negatives before you launch, you can save money on wasted clicks and prevent the detrimental effect they have on your Quality Score.

    2. During a Live PPC Campaign

    Within the first few days of a campaign going live, you should mine your search query reports for keywords with high impressions and low clicks.

    3. On an Ongoing Basis

    Many PPC marketers do negative keyword research weekly. Negative keyword research at any time can only help a live campaign. Mine search query reports for dips in conversion rate or Quality Score. They indicate that your ads show up on irrelevant searches and negatively impact your campaign performance.

    What Are the Benefits of Using Negative Keywords?

    There are three main benefits of using negative keywords in your Google Ads or content.

      1. Improved click-through rate or CTR

      2. Improved conversion rate

      3. Improved Quality Score

    By eliminating potential search queries that don’t make sense for a particular campaign, you are increasing the relevance of your keywords to the copy, which increases your CTR. You also send more qualified people to your site, increasing your conversion rates.

    The number one way to avoid wasted spending is through negative keywords. You’ll want to add negatives to avoid spending money on

    • Searches that are irrelevant to your campaign goals
    • Searches that are costing money but not converting
    • Searches that relate to services you don’t offer
    • Searches for competitor’s brands
    • Searches that are for a similar real estate investor or brand

    Contact Freedom Leads for Automated Lead Follow-Up Solutions

    Freedom Leads can help you get more qualified leads through Spark, our fully customizable lead generation tool. Learn more about how we can help you implement the Motivated Seller Prospects Marketing Program in your area.

    To check the availability of your market, fill out our application form or contact us at 877-399-2259, and we will walk you through the process. We work with a limited number of real estate investors per market, so claim my market today.