The Positives of Negativity

By Avelyn Austin | Jul 14, 2008
More Articles by Avelyn


I’ve always thought of myself as a optimistic person. For some reason, either side of the bed is the right side to get up on and life is constantly handing me lemons to make lemonade with my half full glass of water. So it saddens me to announce that there’s a time when negativity is mandatory. However, I’m pleased to say that there are positive outcomes with this form of negativity and it can save you money!

As pay per click gurus, we all know that Google gives us the opportunity to include negative keywords – or keywords for which we do not want our ads to show. I’ve been a huge fan of these little guys and in the past I’ve relied mostly on the Google AdWords’ Search Query Reports to determine which words needed to be add to my campaigns as negatives. Unfortunately this routine only produced a fraction of the “bad” words used to find my ads — have you ever seen the line that says “Other Unique Queries”? Well, now I have a better way!

Earlier this week the release of relative search volumes on Google’s External Keyword Tool had the SEO and PPC world jumping for joy! I myself was ecstatic that I didn’t have to do keyword research on Trellian by typing in keywords individually to get an estimated search volume… that takes a lot of precious time! As I worked with the External Keyword Tool more, I became interested in the “Additional Keywords to Consider”. Here Google uses synonyms of the keywords you entered to help you find additional keywords to add to your campaigns. This section of the keyword tool is helpful in two ways:

  1. To find additional keyword variations that have search volume and
  2. To find completely erroneous words that should be added as negatives.

It’s astonishing to see some of the outlandish synonyms that Google comes up with! These are typically easy to spot and should added as negatives immediately. However, it’s important that you pay close attention to all the “additional keywords to consider”. If Google thinks they’re synonyms then your ads will most likely show for these words– it’s part of Google’s “best practices” to create a User Friendly search engine, oh and it helps Google make more money too.

Seeing the relative search volumes of the additional keywords was the real kicker for me. The majority of “synonyms” had large search volumes. So my question is this– Is Google openly showing us what those “Other Unique Queries” are? or Are they giving us a chance to opt out of their pursuit for extra clicks by showing our ads for synonymous keywords resulting in more money for themselves?

Either way, I suggest that you use the tool to your advantage. Look closely at the additional keywords and determine whether or not you want your ad showing up for these keywords whether or not you add them to your campaign. If not add them to your list of negative keywords. Not only will you reap the positive benefits of negativity, you’ll save money by decreasing the number of irrelevant clicks.

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