Understanding and avoiding negative keywords
Sara Sargent
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Outsmarting Negativity in Your SEO

Keyword research draws consumers to your content and maximizes your ROI. Keywords aren’t infallible, however. If you keyword-stuff or utilize the wrong keywords, you’ll likely to see a drop in your audience numbers—instead of the rise you want.

Enter: negative keywords.

These aren’t keywords that use “no” in their phrasing. Instead, negative keywords help you exclude certain types of search terms from your content. In doing so, they make your content more niche, boosting its appeal and applicability.

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of a more deliberate consumer search, why not learn more about how these types of keywords work?

Types of Negative Keywords

All negative keywords keep your content from appearing on the SERPs of different searches. You can use three different types of negative keywords to affect your content’s SERP appearances. These include:

  • Broad Match: These keywords prevent your content from appearing in searches that utilize every keyword you’ve integrated into your keyword listing.
  • Phrase Match: These keywords keep your content from appearing in searches that use the exact order of keywords you’ve integrated into your listing.
  • Exact Match: These keywords prevent your content from appearing in searches that use your negative keywords, specifically.

How to Research New Keywords

To start researching negative keywords, try using one or two of the following methods:

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner: Google Ads Keyword Planner allows you to search for and bid on keywords that accurately describe the content you’re creating. You can use the same keyword listings that allow you to choose these keywords to identify the negative terms you want to de-link your work from.
  • Search Terms Report: Search Terms Report relays the exact language consumers use when they come across your content. While this process is normally used to identify positive keywords, you can also use it to identify which keywords most frequently result in page bounces. By adding those keywords to your list as negative keywords, you’ll be able to lower your bounce rate and attract a more deliberate audience.
  • Competitor Research: What kinds of keywords are your competitors using? If you want to differentiate your business from theirs, you can place some of their positive words on your negative list. Likewise, you can search for your primary keywords through Google, see what kind of results those terms generate, and blacklist the ones that are less applicable to your business.

Adding Negative Keywords to AdWords

You can add you newly researched keywords to AdWords through the following steps:

1. Log in to your Google AdWords account.

2. Sync AdWords with the keyword tool of your choice (WordStream, Keyword Planner).

3. At the bottom of your home page, click on “Negative Keywords.”

4. Click “Add.”

5. Set up campaign-level and ad-group-level negative keywords.

Negativity isn’t going to drag down your SEO strategy. In this case, it’s going to build you up. By cleverly integrating negative phrases into your existing ad campaigns, you’ll specify your audience and boost your ROI.

Image attribution: adiruch na chiangmai – stock.adobe.com

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