More Mysteries of Modified Match—the Negatives

Aside from the title of this blog post sounding like something that kept us in the basement around the warm glow (and tireless hum) of a computer during high school, this entry deals with a pertinent question that has come up while using modified broad match keywords: how do we properly utilize negative keywords with it?

Dilligent PPC Hero authors.

Modified broad match comes with its own misunderstandings (addressed here in a brilliantly written article, by one handsome author), and when you add in the already murky waters of negative keywords, well, then you get entries in your “Suggested Topics” section of your blog that say, “Please please talk about negatives with modified broad match.” So, without further ado, here are some ways to properly implement modified broad match keywords and negative keywords.

First, remember that any term that you assign the modifier to (+) must show in the query, so if your modified keyword is green +shoes, the query must have shoes in it to show. But, since the first part (green) is not modified, any other query with “shoes” in it may trigger your ad. So, with this in mind, take a look at your search query reports and mark your negatives. But don’t ever include your modified keyword in the keyword chain as a broad matched negative, as this will block all traffic from this keyword. For instance, if you sell green shoes, but don’t want to show for the query “red shoes,” and want to block out any and all “red shoes” traffic, you would have to avoid blocking the traffic of the modifier in your keyword string, “+shoes,” to start. To do this, simply use exact match negative— -[red shoes]. This will ensure that you aren’t blocking out traffic to your modifier in the keyword string, but that you are also blocking out the specific terms that you feel aren’t giving you quality traffic. Basically, you are going to have to be very specific in terms of negative keywords in campaigns/ad groups with modified broad match keywords, and although these keywords aren’t specifically broad match (with the ensuing chaos in terms of search queries), you will still see many negatives. So, continuously run search query reports, and be sure to be diligent in your negative keyword lists.

To conclude, utilizing negative keywords in campaigns with modified broad match keywords shouldn’t involve reinventing the wheel—just realize that you have to be much more specific when making your negative keyword list, so as to not erase all that hard work put into researching and utilizing your modified broad match keywords.