Another extremely important tactic to successfully inheriting and optimizing a PPC account is to build a negative keyword list. Having a comprehensive negative keyword list can significantly improve not only your CTR but also your conversion rate. Below you will find a list of resources that we use to build a robust negative keyword list:
Search Query Report
Run a Search Query Performance report to see all the search queries that have triggered your ads. If you see any irrelevant terms, add them as negative keywords to your ad group or campaign.
Google Keyword Tool
Within the AdWords interface, you can use the Keyword Research Tool (located within the Tools section of AdWords). Enter 2 to 4 keywords that you would like to target, in order of relevance. Check the Keyword column for any search queries that are irrelevant to your product or business and that you don’t want triggering your ads. Click the downward-pointing arrow in the Match Type column for each keyword that you want to add as a negative match. Select Negative, and the term will be added to your list as negative keyword.
A thesaurus (or thesaurus.com)
A thesaurus is great for expanding not only your negative keyword list but also your main keyword list. If you are advertising in a competitive space, missing a single negative keyword and having your ad displayed for a search that will never convert can be extremely expensive. Using a thesaurus can be a fast and easy way to find negative keywords. Why make finding your keywords more difficult than it needs to be?
Standard list of universal negative keywords
There is a list of negative keywords that are universally poor for almost every PPC campaign. To get you started on building a universal negative keyword list, the PPC Hero Team has created our very own Super-Duper List of General Negative Keywords, geared for B2C campaigns. Further, KoMarketing Associates has put together a very helpful list of standard negative B2B keywords. These two negative keyword lists are a good place to start and they typically are applicable for the majority of your campaigns. That said, look through these lists before inserting them; don’t just blindly dump the lists right in. You need to double-check to make sure they aren’t going to negatively affect your targeted ad groups. Depending on your client and the purpose of the PPC campaigns, some of these may actually be useful. Hence the term “general,” we suppose.