Blogs by date "09/01/12"
Whether you're an ecommerce paid search expert or a newbie to PPC advertising, learning how to do negative keyword research can help minimize unwanted clicks while maximizing return on ad spend (ROAS).
For ecommerce PPC advertising, adding a few negative keywords can drastically improve a campaign's efficiency. Because ecommerce PPC campaigns are often composed of tons of ad groups spread out over hundreds of products and categories, small discoveries can have a momentous impact.
In this article, I will share with you some insightful tips to do negative keyword research and how make your paid search expenditure more cost-effective.
Negative Keyword Research via AdWords
Negative keyword research is just as critical as the initial keyword research that starts the campaign. For product keywords, pinpointing negative keywords is key to ensure ad spend is invested in the right variations.
Adding negative keywords to your AdWords campaigns and ad groups tells Google which keyword variations you do not want triggering your ads. For example, if you sell 'mens swimming goggles,' you may want to add the negative keywords 'free' or 'reviews' to ensure your ads are not triggered under searches for "free mens swimming goggles" or "mens swimming goggles reviews."
If you are using broad, modified-broad, or phrase match keyword bidding, you'll need to determine which keyword variations are causing unwanted impressions and clicks. To do this, click the "Dimensions" tab in the AdWords interface (while in a certain campaign or ad group.)
In the filter option under the Dimensions tab, select "Search Terms." Here you'll see a list of the keyword phrases that have triggered your ads over given period of time (which is can be adjusted in the top right of the AdWords interface.)
This keyword data can be extremely enlightening, and often times shocking. The shock is primarily due to Google's definition of "broad match" - leading many PPC advertisers to use only exact phrase match or modified broad match. Once you've found unwanted keyword variations under the Search Terms option, you can add these keywords as negatives, under the "Keywords" tab. The negative keyword list is located at the bottom of the Keywords tab, underneath the actual keyword list.
You can add negative keywords on ad group or campaign basis. One of the best ways to add negative keywords appropriately is to implement the unwanted variations as a phrase or exact match. So if we wanted to eliminate all variations surrounding "free," we'd simply add the word free in quotes. This way, any keyword phrase that is searched with the word free would not trigger our ad.
After doing some negative keyword research, you may come to find out that broad match bidding is too ambiguous (and thus costly) for your ecommerce PPC efforts. Because broad match semantics are often extremely broad according to Google, you may want to pursue more precise bidding techniques.
Negative Keyword Research via Google Search
Another way to pinpoint unwanted keyword variations is through Google Search, specifically Google's suggested search or 'autocomplete' feature. As you go to type any keyword query, Google provides more specific recommendations based on popular search trends. These suggestions can offer insights as to which keywords you'll want to add to your campaign's negative keyword list.
For example, the suggested long-tail keywords that Google offers above gives us a good negative keyword insight. Perhaps we don't sell "swimming goggles with nose cover." We will then want to add "nose cover" to our negative keyword list for that particular ad group or campaign. Negative keyword research is something that you can do on regular basis. Just be certain that you're not eliminating keywords that might offer good traffic.
When it comes to on-page SEO for ecommerce sites, optimizing for the right keyword is paramount. Ecommerce sites face an extra degree of difficulty when it comes to product-related keywords. This is primarily because product-related keywords are known to be profitable, and many marketers are investing heavily to be found on those keywords.
As a result of the keyword competitiveness found in various ecommerce markets, smart SEO's are going after more specific, long-tail search terms. So instead of optimizing an online shoe store for 'Saucony running shoes' (which is extremely competitive,) a more precise keyword target that might actually lead to high rankings is "Saucony progrid guide 3 womens running shoe," (assuming the online store carries such shoes.)
How did I come up with that lengthy, seven-word target? By using Google's suggested search feature, or autocomplete.
As you start typing "Saucony progrid guide," Google suggests the Progrid models 3, 4, or 5. After following through with a model number, gender is often the next filter suggested by Google. Based on our shoe store's "inventory," we will know that "Saucony progrid guide 3 womens" is our primary keyword target, with "running shoes" as the secondary long-tail target.
In a competitive keyword category, this keyword research strategy is highly effective to gain insight on the searching behaviors of common Google users.
Use Google Suggested Search for PPC Keyword Research
Using the Google autocomplete feature is also a great way to target keywords for ecommerce PPC advertising. In any ecommerce PPC campaign, typically the more keyword-specific you can get with your ad groups, the better. By utilizing suggested search, advertisers can bid with precision on highly targeted keywords using creative bidding strategies like modified broad match.
Using the above example, we could bid on dedicated ad group for the keyword phrase "+saucony +guide +3 +womens." (Using plus signs in front of keywords is modified broad match - a highly efficient form of bidding.) The only way our ad will trigger is if all of those keywords are used in a search query.
Based on the competition in the image above, we could apply some superb PPC strategies to really stand out from lazy competitors above (except for the one at the bottom.) Spread this bidding strategy across an entire product line, and you have yourself a very powerful AdWords campaign with highly focused ad groups.
Now can you create more relevant ad copy, but your quality scores are typically lower, resulting in lower bid prices. Additionally, you can make better use of Google's Ad Extensions features, which really spruce-up the ad at no additional cost.
This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO. Connect with Tyler on Google+".