Negative Match Keywords Increase Your Search Engine Marketing Campaign ROI

November 24, 2010 | Written by Dusty Dean

One of our favorite benefits of Web marketing, especially search engine marketing, are the many ways you can increase your marketing ROI using smart optimization strategies.

Setting up broad and phrase based keyword match types are great ways to increase your impression share and discover how your customers search for your products and services.

Although these match types give you the most exposure, and help you learn about the queries that trigger your ads, there are implicit ROI risks of using these match types.

The primary ROI risk is having your search engine ads garner high impressions for search terms that match your broad and phrase matches but are irrelevant to your company’s products and services.

These irrelevant ad impressions will lower your clickthrough rate (CTR) and reduce the effectiveness of your search marketing campaign.

You can protect your CTR and search marketing ROI from these irrelevant keywords by using negative keyword match types. 1

Negative match keywords allow you to increase ad relevancy by filtering out unwanted search terms.

We recommend creating a negative match keyword list prior to launching your search engine marketing campaign and then to run a search terms report during your campaign to discover new negative match keywords. 2

You should frequently monitor the search terms that trigger your ads and adjust your negative match keyword list to filter out these queries. This will assure you’re reaching the most relevant audience and increase your search marketing ROI.


  1. The following links offer step-by-step instructions for creating negative match keyword lists in AdWords and Microsoft’s adCenter:
    Add negative keywords (Microsoft adCenter)
    Add negative keywords (Google AdWords) ↩
  2. You can run the search terms report in both Google AdWords (instructions) and Microsoft adCenter (instructions). ↩
November 24, 2010 | Written by Dusty Dean

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