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  • Keywords: The Negative Accentuates the Positive!


    Using Keywords to Target Your Specific Audience

    When you start to advertise your business online, you will probably be dealing with one of the major search engine companies. The most common form of advertising involves purchasing keywords that you wish your ad to appear in response to.

    If you wish to market a particular product, like a line of clothing for pets, you will want include pet clothing in your list of keyword phrases, along with other more specific phrases such as cat clothing or dog clothing. Pet gifts would be another good choice. Once you start to receive response to your ads you can refine your keyword list to maximize your traffic.

    Consider how consumers search when choosing your keywords. Ask yourself what you would type in if you were searching for a product like yours. Write down a list of all the different categories your product could fit into, and consider sales words, like best, favorite, cheap and affordable. Geo-targeting is also a good idea if you have a physical store location and want to advertise it as well. Simply add a keywords such as Chicago, Dallas or the Bay area to your list.

    The most common way to pay for advertising is based on CPM, or ‘cost-per-thousand impressions’. M is the Roman numeral for a thousand, and an impression is simply an appearance of your ad in response to a search. A rate of $50 CPM would mean you are charged $50 for every thousand times your ad is shown. Getting the most sales out of your impressions is what keyword targeting is all about.  

    Why Negative Keywords are Positive for Your Business 

    Negative (or excluded) keywords were originally implemented as a way for website owners to prevent their site from showing up on keyword searches. That sounds odd until you remember that most websites pay for advertising based on how many times their ad appears in response to searches by consumers.

    If you run a website that sells exclusively women’s hair products, you probably want your ad to pop up in responses to searches that include combinations of the keywords hair, products, women, female, and a multitude of variations.

    But what if some-one runs a search for ‘men’s hair products’? If your ad pops every time hair products is input, this search will produce your ad as well. You will pay for these views, and have a slim to none chance of making a sale.

    That is where the exclusion of certain keywords can help you narrow your audience to those who are interested in your product. By making men, men’s, male, masculine and other variations of the word non-applicable to you, the number of wasted views will be reduced considerably. Google uses the term ‘negative’ for these keywords; Yahoo refers to them as ‘excluded’.

    Now you will still get views from consumers searching for hair products, female hair products or women’s hair products, but any search with the word men or a variation thereof will not show your ad. This should increase your view to sale ratio by a good percentage.

    Some trial and error may be required to find the proper balance of keywords to include or exclude so you get the most out of your advertising dollar.

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