How Negatives Can Be a Positive for your Conversion Rate

You've setup your search engine campaign and are ready to target your "oil change" services to a variety of consumer in your area. After adjusting the campaign settings for the proper geographic area, setting your keyword bids properly and performing plenty of keyword research, you think you're ready to go.

A few weeks later, you may be disappointed with the conversion rate of your clicks to new service appointments. An important, but often overlooked, factor for search engine marketing is the important of adding negative keywords to limit the types of search queries you ads display on.

Negative keywords are simply terms that prevent your ads from showing on certain terms. The phrase match keyword "oil change", for example" could match to searches such as "oil change diy" or "free dealer oil change" which likely won't result in sales. By adding negative keywords such as "diy" and "free" you can ensure that your ads won't display on these terms.

Going even further, you can run ads on the exact match [oil change] to ensure complete matching of the exact search query without the need to add additional phrase specifications.  A regular element of keyword research should involve reviewing your search queries for potential negative keywords.

You can review your search queries through the Reports interface within Adwords, which can show you the types of phrases your ads are generating clicks for. Analytics packages can provide further insight into these queries based upon the amount of time spend on the site (as well as the "bounce rate" for users who don't navigate beyond the first page.) Adding negative keywords on a regular basis can reduce your "bad" spend, allowing you to allocate search spend into the most effective areas.

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