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:












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!