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6 effortless tips for adding negative keywords in Google AdWords

Google AdWords search campaigns help you attract new patients when they're looking for a dentist... but you can waste a lot of money having your ads show up for unrelated keywords. Adding negative keywords can reduce waste in your Google AdWords Account, save money, and help you to find new patients.

Here are six tips for finding the best negative keywords that will keep your ad spending from going out of control.

1. Do a quick search for your keywords. This will show you how they could be misinterpreted. For example, if you have a keyword like “crowns” in your AdWords, everything from Queen Elizabeth to The Lord of the Rings could show up. If you already know how your keywords can be misinterpreted, that can help you avoid paying for those obviously misleading search terms. (Click here for help understanding keyword basics)

2. Think about your location and whether the same name is “doubled” up elsewhere. For example, Halifax is in both Canada and the United Kingdom. If you’re a Halifax dentist, you can add “England”, “UK” and “West Yorkshire” as negative keywords. That way your listing only shows up for patients searching for dentists in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

3. Use exact match. Exact match means that your ad will show up only for that particular keyword and any plurals or misspellings. Exact match uses the square brackets around the search term. Here’s an example: [Halifax dentist].

4. Check out the matched search queries report. Once your AdWords account is running, you can see the exact keywords that result in a click by looking at the matched search queries report. If your keyword is dentist, you might see “local dentist” and ”Dr. Molar DDS” show up as the search terms that result in a click. It’s a good idea to show up for “local dentist”, but you don’t want to show up for Dr Molar - the dentist down the street! After all, if the person is searching for the other dentist by name, they are most likely already a patient. You can add ‘”Dr. Molar DDS” and any other undesirable search queries to your negative keywords list.

5. Add common negative search queries. Words like “free” and “cheap” are never good for a dental campaign, but there are also employment-related keywords (job, salary, recruitment), education-related keywords (training, school, course), or research-related keywords (review, rating, how to) you should avoid if you want new patients clicking on your site. Check out this list from TechWyse for more ideas.

6. Call Google. Google has designated account managers to help you get the most out of your AdWords budget. These account managers can access negative keywords lists for each industry, just like the ones Techwyse mentions. These lists can help you get thinking about what kinds of searches you don’t want your business to show up for.

Dentists, what are the best ways you’ve found to reduce waste in your AdWords accounts?

Jean Fraser
Jean Fraser
As the Director of Marketing at Optio Publishing, Jean is fascinated by all things related to internet marketing, including SEO, Google AdWords and Social Media Management. When not at work she can be found tearing up the dance floor.
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