A pay-per-click ad should only target people who are ready to make a purchase immediately. To help advertisers do so, Google created negative keywords.

Negative keywords increase PPC profits by cutting the number of irrelevant visitors (clicks) you pay for.

For example, if you’re running ads selling casement windows, you don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on searches for “how to paint casement windows,” because someone looking for painting advice isn’t thinking about buying windows.

You can use negative keywords to make sure that you’re ads aren't showing up in irrelevant searches. 

Negative keywords are an excellent opportunity for ANY company running a pay-per-click campaign. At Spectrum, for instance, we've saved our clients as much as $30,000 a year through the implementation of this strategy.

Here are twenty negative keywords (by category) that have increased profits for most of our PPC clients:

Informational Searches

1.  Why

2.  What

3.  When

4.  Should

5.  About

6.  Picture / Photo / Photograph

Most searchers who use these terms haven’t yet decided that they need to make a purchase. I recommend focusing on searchers who already know what they are looking for.


7.  DIY / Do It Yourself

8.  Create / Make / Build

9.  How to

10.  Repair / Fix (unless you offer repair services)

In most cases, these searchers are looking for advice rather than trying to make an order.

Career Searches

11.  Career

12.  Job / Internship

13.  Salary

14.  Start a company

I know of at least one company that spent thousands of dollars on the phrase “how to start a company.”


15.  Training (unless your company sells training)

16.  Education (unless applicable)

17.  Class / Course (unless applicable)

For example, if your company sells a type of machinery or equipment, you could pay thousands of dollars for searches about how to use that type of machinery.


18.  Used / Refurbished (unless you sell used goods)

19.  Download (unless you sell downloads)

20.  Cheap / Cheapest (unless you love value customers)

Bonus #21: Industry-specific terms from industries you don’t service. For example, if your company sells house windows, you’ll definitely want to eliminate searches for car windows (e.g. car, truck, GM, Ford) and Microsoft Windows (e.g. Microsoft, Word, PC).

Do you have any questions about negative keywords or about pay-per-click advertising? Let me know in the comments below or contact your SEO today -- we'd love to hear from you!

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