Negative Keywords in Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the most powerful tools your firm can use to find new claimants seeking legal aid. While ad is extremely competitive for attorneys, thousands of firms rely on PPC marketing to keep a steady caseload. One of the best ways to ensure your ad dollar is spent wisely is by focusing on negative keywords. Negative keywords narrow down the audience your ad is served to, meaning you’ll save money by “weeding out” irrelevant traffic.

What Is a Negative Keyword?

While you’ve likely spent hours toiling over keywords related to your firm’s area of law, users who don’t need legal services will still find your website. A negative keyword is a keyword that prevents your ads from serving on irrelevant queries. If a user searches a phrase including your negative keyword, your ads will not be displayed on the search results.

For example, let’s say that you’re a Social Security disability attorney but you don’t handle childhood SSI cases due to parents’ income. You can add “SSI” as a negative keyword and exclude any searches that include “SSI.” It’s still possible users with SSI cases will find your site (some people don’t know what SSI is, for example), but it will dramatically cut down on the volume of SSI-related traffic to your ads.

Match Types And Negative Keywords

You don’t have to eliminate all queries that contain a specific keyword, like SSI. Negative keywords can be enabled based on match type, just like regular keywords. This means that you can specify that a specific phrase cannot be used within a query, eliminating some search results but allowing more traffic through than using a broad-match negative like “SSI.”

For example, let’s take the previous firm as an example. If a firm handles most SSI cases but not SSI applications for minors, its PPC specialist would not want to add “SSI” as a negative keyword because the firm would lose perfectly good cases as well as the childhood claims. By adding phrase match negative keywords, you can hone in on irrelevant searches without jeopardizing your overall search volume. Here are some examples that would be good to exclude in this example:

  • “childhood ssi”
  • “ssi for children”
  • “ssi child”
  • “ssd for child”
  • “file for ssi for children”
  • “ssi for a child”

In these examples, a search along the lines of “ssi for parent” will still trigger a firm’s ads, but “ssi for child” will not. A combination of broad, phrase, and exact match negatives is best for most firms when trying to eliminate irrelevant traffic.

How Do You Find Negative Keywords?

One of the best places to find negative keywords to add to your campaign is on Google Ad’s Search Report. This displays every query someone entered where your ad was served. You can quickly see how much you’re spending on irrelevant searches, how many leads you’ve generated, and bulk add search terms as negatives (or keywords to bid on if they look profitable!).

Google’s Keyword Planner is also a good tool to help you add negative keywords, especially if you’re just starting your campaign. By importing your keyword list you’ll see search trends related to the keywords you’re biding on and create a strong negative keyword list before you even begin running your campaigns.

Without negative keywords your ads could be available for the world to see—not an ideal situation for attorneys, who already face the most expensive and competitive industry for digital marketing.