– How to not show your Google Ads to people searching for naked cheerleaders

Part 2 in Nora’s series on using Google Adwords. Coming to you from Rainy Day Paperback Exchange Read Part 1 here…

The other option to cut costs is to improve the quality. Quality is basically based on relevance. Ads that aren’t very relevant to what people are searching for don’t get clicked. This is shown as a low click through rate. Google rewards relevant ads by making them cheaper. Irrelevant ads are more expensive. You’re basically charged a premium for annoying searchers.

So the key to getting a high click through rate is to make sure your ad is as relevant as possible. This may mean narrowing down search terms or inserting negative keywords.

Important note, search terms aren’t limited to one word. If you have a really specific book you want to advertise, you CAN put the whole thing in. For example if you have a signed, first edition Hemingway you can advertise just on the term “signed first edition Hemingway”. Generally phrases are better than single words!

Search terms are grouped into three types: broad, phrase, and exact.

Broad match is the default setting for AdWords.

Broad means the words must appear in the search string, but there could be 87 other search terms. For example if you are advertising on the broad term ‘book UK’ you will show up both on ‘new Harry Potter book UK edition’ and ‘antiquarian book store in the UK’. It will also appear for plurals like ‘books UK’.

To use phase match, simply add quotation marks to your term.

Phrase match only works if you have more than one word in your Keyword. It will only appear for searches using those words, in that order. There can be other words in the search, but nothing in between. For example, if you used “rare book” as a phrase match, it would appear for both “new York rare book” and “rare book UK”. It would NOT appear for “book rare” or “rare New York book”. It will not appear on searches with plurals, so it won’t appear for “rare bookS” either.

To use Exact match, put your phrase in brackets.

Exact match will show up only if that exact string of words is entered in that order and there’s nothing else. So if you advertised on [used books] as an exact match, it would show up only on a search for [used books]. It would NOT show up for ‘used books New York’.

Unless you’re advertising something really, really specific, Broad or Phrase match generally works best. Exact match is best for advertising a single, very expensive item.

You can trim Broad and Phrase match down even further by using negative keywords. This basically says “don’t show this ad if X is in the search string.” For example, if you were advertising on ‘used book’ as a broad match, you’d show up in a search for ‘Kelley blue book used car prices’. You definitely don’t want to show up for that search, it’s completely irrelevant! So you can input the negative Keyword ‘kelley blue’. You’ll lose a few people that were searching for a specific book with the author Kelley and the title ‘blue’ but you also won’t be showing the ad thousands of times to the wrong people.

Hint: On your main ad, consider adding the negative terms “porn”, “sex”, “XXX”, and any other porntastic, four-letter term you can think of. There’s a LOT of searches for porn of various sorts. Knocking out all the porn related ones will generally dramatically slash the number of times it’s shown to the wrong people and improve your quality.

If you DO have erotica in your inventory, consider making a separate ad group to advertise it and going with an Exact match for the type you have. This will let the person searching for Victorian erotica find you without showing your ad to every Tom, Dick, and Harry searching for naked cheerleaders. (and mentioning these words in this article has just landed BookShopBlog on some very INTERESTING searches.)

To add negative Keywords, click on a campaign. You’ll see the link there. Then just type in negative keywords.

Negative Keywords for Google’s AdWords

If you aren’t sure what to use as negative keywords, go into your campaign. Click on any ad group. Now go to the Keyword tool.

Keyword Tool for Google AdWords

In Keyword tool, click “existing Keyword” and then select the one you want. It will show you all the variations people commonly search on. You can either choose to ad them as search terms in their own right, or you can scribble down what you want to exclude. You can’t directly ad negatives here, you’ll have to do that on the negative Keywords screen. (Open it in a separate window to make this easy).

One of the most common things you’ll want to exclude is commonly searched locations. For example, the term “used book store” has quite a few searches every month that include Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angelos, and a host of other cities. Unless you’re in one of those cities, it’s probably not worth appearing on those searches. Add those as negative Keywords.

Next time, finding Keywords to advertise on, including ones that you probably wouldn’t think of on your own!

Part 1 of the Series on Using Google AdWords

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2 thoughts on “Precise Targeting for your Google Ads”

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  2. Slight update, since I wrote this they HAVE changed how the Keyword tool works slightly so you can directly ad the negative terms directly. On the right side of the column where it says “add” you see add is actually a drop down menu. The Menu has “add negative” as the last option.

    I find it really counterintuitive that to take a word out, you click “add”, but that’s the way the menu is now set up.

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