Save on Pay-per-Click by Telling Google Not to Show Your Ads

You can save money with your Pay-per-Click ads by telling Google NOT to show your ads to searchers unless they’re looking for your type of contractor. This is using “Negative Keywords.”

I found out about Negative Keywords when I started running Pay-per-Click ads for my electrical contracting company┬áin L.A. I scanned through a long list of phrases that searchers had typed into the Google search box, triggering my ads. This is the great thing about Adwords — Google tells you exactly what the searcher typed in before they clicked on your ad.

I noticed that people had typed in some odd things before clicking on the ad for my electrical contracting company. For example, a few had typed in “electrician training.” Electrician training! Not only did Google show them my ad, the searchers clicked on it! Apparently, some people looking for electrician training thought “The Electric Connection” is a vocational school. Or maybe they just idly clicked without much thought. Why should they think hard? After all, they probably had no idea that each idle click was costing me money.

Why did my ad come up when someone typed in “electrician training”? Because when I set up my Pay-per-Click account, I told Google that “electrician” was one of the “keywords” that should trigger my ad.

It was time to modify my Adwords campaign to tell Google not to show my ad if the searcher included the words “training” or “school” along with the keyword “electrician.” “Training” and “school” are Negative Keywords for my campaign.

For a plumbers and HVAC contractors, “school” and “training” are also important Negative Keywords. Another important Negative Keyword for a plumber might be “helper.” Searchers who type in “plumber’s helper” might be looking either for a job as your apprentice or a stick with a suction cup on the end. They’re probably not out to hire a plumber. For HVAC contractors, “window” might be a good Negative Keyword. People looking for a “window air conditioner” are probably not thinking of hiring a Heating and Air Contractor.

But sometimes words that you might think are Negative Keywords are also ones that could get you business. Take the word “license.” As an electrician, I don’t want electricians who are looking to earn their electrical contractor’s license to click on my ad. Then again, some homeowners type in “licensed electrician” when they need an electrician. For my electrical company, the phrase “electrical contractor’s license” is a Negative Keyword. (Google allows setting an entire phrase as a Negative Keyword.) Then, I can leave “licensed electrician” as a legitimate keyword that should trigger my ad.

How can one possibly think of all the Negative Keywords to list out for Google? I know I can’t. My staff and I simply comb through Google’s lists of what people typed into search boxes before clicking on our ads. We started with the Adwords account of my electrical company. This list included “Christmas” — I don’t hang Christmas lights — and “truck” — I upgrade electrical panels, but not panel trucks. And we’ve been adding Negative Keywords ever since.

When my Internet marketing company, HappyContractor, sets up an Adwords account for a new client, we immediately enter hundreds of Negative Keywords so that the client will begin saving money right off the bat. We do the same for plumbers, HVAC contractors, and general contractors.

Click here to find out more about how you can save money on your Pay-per-Click campaign. Or give us a call at 800-990-5811 Pacific Time 9-5, to discuss your campaign. We look forward to talking with you.

Kim Hopkins

CEO, HappyContractor