You don’t need to be a Google Ads expert to make search engine advertisements deliver a positive ROI for you and your company. In fact, as long as you know the basics and you’re willing to put the time in, anyone can run a successful campaign.

At the same time, you need to remember that 70-80% of all searchers ignore paid advertisements and focus only on organic results. If you want to cut through the noise and make an impact, you need to go out of your way to reach the right person in the right place at the right time with the right message.

And a big part of that comes down to identifying and targeting the most relevant keywords possible. Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is a keyword?

If you’ve ever worked with a Google AdWords agency, you’ve probably heard them talking about keywords. Essentially, they’re specific terms that you plan to focus on, and they can be used differently in different situations.

For example, social media marketers often use keywords to set up real-time searches for people who are complaining about the brand. By monitoring these keywords and replying to people as appropriate, they can often turn a brand detractor into a brand evangelist.  

When people turn to search engines to try to find information, they enter keywords into the search box. Google then uses those keywords to try to identify the searcher’s intent and ultimately to provide them with the most relevant results possible.

For us, as marketers who are interested in using search Google Ads as a digital marketing strategy to reach a new audience, we can bid on keywords to try to run our ads in front of searchers who are looking for certain words or phrases.

Feel like you don't have enough experience with Google Ads? Check out Your Google Ads Guide: What It Is and What You Need to Know.

This ultimately gives you a much greater level of control over who you reach and what message you reach them with, especially if you’re willing to take the time to create bespoke ad groups and more targeted campaigns.

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Why are the right keywords so important? 

Choosing the right keywords is important because relevance is important. If you’ve ever accidentally logged into your partner’s Netflix account and looked at the recommendations there, you’ll know what we mean. Suddenly, instead of seeing stuff that’s actually relevant and of interest, it’s got a worse success rate than if you just turned on the TV and flicked over to any random channel.

The same thing holds true with digital advertising. Selecting the right keywords and matching them up with relevant advertisements will help you to run more targeted campaigns. Instead of a scattergun approach where you throw a bunch of money at ads and hope for the best, you switch from a shotgun to a sniper rifle.

There are occasional times when you might want to run a wider advertising campaign with more loosely defined keywords, but even then you still need at least some level of relevance. If you’re a clothing store, for example, “buy Adidas shoes size 9” is a much more targeted keyword than “shoes”, but there are times when you might want to use both. You probably wouldn’t want to bid on “goldfish”, though.

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Positive keywords

When it comes to advertising on Google, there are two different types of keywords, both of which we’re going to cover today. When most people think of Google Ads keywords, they’re thinking of positive keywords, the keywords your brand is actively targeting and trying to display its ads alongside. 

The general goal is to ensure that your advertisement is triggered when a specified word or phrase is searched for. In our previous example, the clothing store might specify “Adidas shoes” as a positive keyword and then couple that with an ad group promoting Adidas trainers.

Remember here that identifying the right keywords is just the start. If you coupled that keyword with an ad that promoted Nike shoes, it wouldn’t perform at the same level. This is an important reminder of the need for relevancy in your target keywords, your advertisements and your landing pages.

When you’re identifying and specifying positive keywords, there’s a fine balance to be found between making them too general and making them too specific. If your terms are too broad, you’ll end up attracting a bunch of people who are never going to buy from you. If your terms are too narrow, you won’t attract anyone at all.

It’s also worth noting that certain keywords are more competitive than others. As a general rule, the more specific your keywords are, the less competition there is and so the less you’re likely to have to pay for them. At the same time, though, they’re also less likely to have large numbers of searches and so you’ll usually have to target a lot of them to make it worth your while.

Ultimately, selecting the right positive keywords is all about making sure that you show up when you should and that you don’t show up when you shouldn’t, which brings us on to our next point.

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Negative keywords

The use of negative keywords is one of the most underrated online marketing strategies that’s out there. In the same way that positive keywords are designed to explicitly state the searches that you want your advertisements to display, negative keywords can specify where you don’t want to appear.

Negative keywords are still pretty new, hence them being such a well-kept secret, and their relative freshness means that as well as being an early adopter if you choose to use them, you can also be left with a significant leg up over the competition.

There are plenty of examples of when you wouldn’t want your ads to show up. Going back to that clothing store example, they might want to include “used” as a negative keyword if they only sell brand new kicks. 

In more extreme situations, you might want to use negative keywords if your brand can’t refer to certain use cases or competitor products. If you’re a vape manufacturer that supports cannabis products, for example, you may not be legally allowed to discuss that in certain regions.

Of course, negative keywords can also be useful in much more everyday situations. The goal is to essentially filter out those keywords where your product/brand isn’t quite a good fit. If you produce high-end goods then you might want to add “cheap”, “free” and “affordable” as negative keywords.

Ultimately, by getting your negative keywords list just right, you can increase your click-through rate and even save money on your advertisements. After all, it’s in Google’s interests to publish advertisements that people are likely to click on, and the click-through rate of your ads is one of their best markers of relevancy. 

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Making them work together

Once you’ve drafted up your lists of positive and negative keywords, the final step in the process is for you to make sure that the two of them are working together in harmony. The key is to use positive keywords to bring in the volume and negative keywords to filter out the junk and the rubbish. 

In other words, if Google Ads is a well that can provide essentially infinite sales leads, positive keywords are like the pump that brings up the water and negative keywords are the filter that’s in place to make sure that it’s drinkable.

To perfect your Google Ads strategy and to make the most of your budget, you’ll need to use both positive and negative keywords in a targeted, strategic way. It’s also not enough to simply set up some ads and then leave them running because you’ll have to make constant tweaks as you go to streamline your campaigns and ultimately improve your ROI.

Fortunately, as long as you carry out comprehensive keyword research and work with an ad manager who knows his stuff, you’ll have the hard part covered. All that’s left is to perfect your ads and your ad groups and to make sure that your landing pages are up to scratch.

Still need help identifying the best keywords to use? One of the best ways to identify both positive and negative keywords is to take a look at which keywords your competitors are targeting or ranking for in organic search. Depending upon how competitive they are and how relevant they are to your business, you can either add them to your positive keyword list or you can exclude them.

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If you want to be successful in today’s competitive business landscape, you need to deploy and manage a comprehensive Google Ads campaign. At the same time, though, you also need a certain level of expertise if you want to be able to use them to their full advantage.

That’s why it’s often a good idea to hire a Google Ads expert to help you out, and that’s where we come in.

Reach out to the team here at Growth Marketing Genie to find out more about what we can do for you, from setting up your ads to picking out keywords and optimizing for long-term growth. We look forward to hearing from you!

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