Find Irrelevant Traffic Before It Finds You

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One thing we do regularly for our clients is run search query reports from Adwords and MSN, pull all queries that are resulting in unqualified impressions or clicks, and add those in as negatives.

Doing this can really help narrow down your keyword list and prevent unqualified traffic from seeing your ad and not clicking – which prevents your impressions from skyrocketing and therefore lowering your click-through rate. But negatives also can prevent people from clicking on your ads, costing you money and lowering your conversion rates.

However, if you’re only relying on the search query reports you’re really only being reactive in preventing your ad from being shown and clicked on by irrelevant traffic.

Before you even start a PPC account, you should be running basic keyword research reports to find potential keywords that could cause irrelevant traffic from seeing your ads and/or clicking on them before it even happens.  This is a more proactive approach in keeping unqualified traffic out and therefore increasing click-through rates and Quality Scores. For example, you could be doing PPC keyword research on ‘vacation in Paris’ but find keywords that have search volume for, ‘weddings in paris’, or ‘paris movies’. At this point you would want to add in ‘weddings’ and ‘movies’ to you negative keyword list to weed out that irrelevant/unqualified traffic.

You can run keyword research reports in Google, Yahoo, MSN and several other free keyword tools to find potential negatives.

Every PPC firm should have an on-going list of potential generic negatives that could be used across all of their accounts. Some of these terms can include:

Free

Sex

Comparison

Reviews

Diagram

Pictures

Career

Job/Jobs

Bargain

Discount

Cheap

And much, much more.  **Note that some of these generic keywords may be relevant to your business.

Really, the search query reports are for finding negatives that you miss from your initial keyword research. Get in the mind of searchers and find those negatives before they find you!

ACO_endad_Secrets

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  • http://www.alanmitchell.com.au Alan Mitchell

    Good tip Amber,

    ‘Free’, ‘jobs’ and ‘careers’ are often usual culprits, although what counts a relevant will of course depend on the industry in which the business operates.

    As you point out though, the keyword tool is a very useful free tool in helping to identify irrelevant keywords. Simply entering your desired keywords and seeing what Google thinks are synonymous keywords helps brainstorm ideas for negative keywords before a campaign goes live.

    Cheers,
    Alan

  • http://www.bestbuymetals.com Nathan L.

    Great usable information.

    Our adsense rep had started us off with a list of negative keywords, but using the keyword tool you mentioned I found several more negatives that I believe will save us a lot of advertising dollars!

    Thank you!

  • http://seocincinnati.com Kevin chamberlin

    Amber great post I have been doing this for some time with Google my question to you though is this. What do I have to say to get my “Yahoo rep to give me search query reports” I have asked this question only to get the following “they do not exist in Yahoo”. Now his title is a senior account executive & media planner and he stated he could and has been assisting, or as I call it the go between for my search programs. Should I be requesting a different search account rep? If so where can I start. Yahoo has never been great in their customer support in the last 5 years I have worked with them. I find 90% + of Yahoo search info. here on PPC hero.com and your company should get and hope they do a big kick back from Yahoo.

  • http://searchlaboratory.com Ryan Jones

    I’m all for researching negative keywords in advance, though I’d be a bit wary of having a list of generic negatives…I have accounts where ‘free’, ‘cheap’, and (I’m afraid to say) ‘sex’ are all relevant.

    Great tip about asking for a Yahoo search query report though – I had no idea that was an option!

  • MAX

    I think cheap is not a good negative keyword. if the prices on your website are less than other competitors then cheap is very good keyword. it converts very well.

  • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jamilkassam Jamil Kassam

    Good post, anyone managing a large PPC campaign needs to be pay strict attention to negatives to cut out bad traffic, capture traffic at a cheaper rate and generally improve performance.

    I would be hestitant about using a generic set of keywords as negatives also. Many people in retail think the term ‘free’ is a good term to have as a negative keyword however if you’ve set this at a broad match level then you won’t show for people searching for ‘xxx with free delivery’ for example so beware!

    @Kevin – it’s only in the last few months that we’ve been getting the equivalent of search query reports from Yahoo (they refer to them as SPM reports). Slightly different to Google’s version but isn’t that always the case!

  • http://vistatuneup.com Vista Performance

    This is a very informative post. Thanks for sharing it.

  • http://www.uwsp.edu/ATHLETICS/mbb/06-07/index.htm Pointer Men’s Basketball

    You you should make changes to the webpage title Find Irrelevant Traffic Before It Finds You | The Adventures of PPC Hero to something more specific for your webpage you make. I liked the blog post all the same.

  • http://www.headwise.net international ppc

    This site is amazing and very simple or great. Amber great post I have been doing this for some time with Google my question to you though is this. As you point out though, the keyword tool is a very useful free tool in helping to identify irrelevant keywords. However, if you’re only relying on the search query reports you’re really only being reactive in preventing your ad from being shown and clicked on by irrelevant traffic.