PPC Negative Keyword Tales

We all know what a negative keyword list is- the qualifiers around your keywords that you don’t want associated with your business or ads. Words like free, cheap, download and wholesale are quite popular and there are some great lists out there in the hundreds of common keywords you should be adding. But- when is the last time you really thought about it? Thought about it in weird or almost disturbed or morbid way?
You should….here’s some fun stories why:
Client A: Account is inherited from back when keyword research in Google allowed you to run a keyword search for keywords that weren’t so good, as in they included the names of porno sites and porno stars mixed in with actually good keywords.
Solution: Painstakingly (and OK, a little fun) searching on the terms in question. A veritable roulette wheel of fun- would the result be porn or an leading expert in the VPN industry? Sometimes it was really obvious (iloveboobs.com) and other times- not so much (Pierre Woodman).
Let’s just say I saw some interesting things that day…and yes, Pierre is a porn director.

Client B
: Starts up a new company after selling an old one, is a bit of a public figure locally. While the company name actually has nothing to do with him or what it does, he’s a top organic keyword for the company. So what happens when you Google his name? All kinds of results about his very nasty, very public divorce.
Solution: Avoiding the fail train that airlines like to board (ahem- “crash” “equipment fail” and “bomb”) adding many negative keywords about divorce, marriage, alimony, court and litigation. Also contacting my SEO for a little rep management.
Client C: Sells office cubicle systems and lots and lots of them. Cubicle walls, units and their industry term: panel systems. But did you know there are a lot of other kinds of “cubicles” out there?
Solution: Adding negatives for dressing room cubicles, airplane, train and my personal favorite: toilets.
Client D: Technically wasn’t my client, but I really loved his issue. The person worked for a company that rented Port-A-Potties. Guess what the top 2 groups that rent those are? Construction sites and large formal outdoor events, like weddings, concerts and festivals.
So the construction group didn’t want to pay the rent like they were a festival and the formal type people didn’t want to rent something a construction worker used. Despite the fact, that they are indeed, the very same units.
Solution: Two separate accounts and two separate landing pages. Apparently we can’t all just get along after all.
Have you got your own tale of what is basically reputation management through PPC? Share it!

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  1. I have seen too many businesses who manage their own PPC campaigns yet they have not got the slightest clue about negative keywords. A client recently wasted over £4000 because of this.

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