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SEMrush Blog

Negative keywords for B2B websites

SEMrush Blog
Negative keywords for B2B websites

Negative keywords are the pitfalls of any online campaign – whether SEO or Pay Per Click. The tricky part of them is that having essential traffic volume SEO and adwords negative keywords are unable to give your even a decent conversion. Targeting at such keywords in website promotion comes at cost as spending valuable resources on such keywords promotion doesn’t give any return on investment.

In this post we will be looking into B2B field specifically giving you an example of keywords which companies should when determine their keyword set.

What are negative keywords?

Most frequently negative keywords are connected with AdWords campaign. When you set the keywords which you want to trigger your add, you are strongly recommended to add some negative keywords, which should they appear, will not trigger the add. These keywords are called negative because they will not drive targeted traffic to your site. For example, people will incorporate your niche keywords in their search query but then they will add word “free” which will mean they have somewhat different purpose of their search and will not give you desirable conversion.

Why should you watch out for negative keywords?

You might need to avoid negative keywords to save your money spent on SEO keywords or PPC budget. By adding list of negative keywords you will filter out the unwanted traffic which will improve conversions and help decrease bounce rate.

Which keywords should you exclude?

Let’s take the example with website design. This is a broad case because website design can be offered to companies and individuals as well, but we will be considering it more from B2B side.

If to take it from the top, the first stage of your keyword selection process should be generating as much relevant keywords ideas as possible. For this purpose you can use one of the SEO keywords tools – in our case we took SEMrush.

In the search line we type in word combination “website design” and click “search”. The keyword generator software takes us to the Keywords Research section where in the Phrase match report block we can see a long list of ideas the program has suggested for the website design keyword (click “Full Report”.)

It is necessary to point out that generally the most beneficial keywords are those which have the sufficient number of monthly searches (the Volume column) and moderate cost per click rate and level of competition (the CPC and Com. columns respectively). That is why before diving into the negative keywords selection you should determine the set of those which you most probably will use for your future campaign. In the SEMrush keyword search software this can be done by ranging the data in ascending or descending order by clicking the arrows in the column headings or by exporting the list to Excel and applying filters afterwards.

Now it is time to identify the negative keywords. Typically, there are many searches connected with employment and career related topics, search queries of this kind usually include words such as “ job”, “jobs”, “internship”, “salary”, “employment”, etc. Also, pertaining to website design field, there could be searches for website design education, featuring the words “courses”, “education”, “classes”, etc. If you are not interested in any of these types of traffic filter out the queries with these words. In SEMrush you can easily do this by opening the Filters tab.

Set the options “Exclude” -> “Keyword”-> “Containing” and type in the word you want to exclude – in our case it would be “job”. After that we press “Apply” and receive the refined list of keywords without word combinations containing “job” term.

Similarly, any other keyword idea can be left out. For example, a word “free” is well-known as negative keyword for many business niches. Let us stress the word “many” – search queries with the free word are losing game for many websites, but not for all. To web sources that are making their money through ads placed on their pages where they offer some free stuff, traffic through such keyword will be highly welcomed. But if we back to paid services which want to omit the “discount audience”, keywords conveying the idea of bargain, discount, something free or cheap should be excluded.

Another set of keywords to be careful with, especially when we talk about website design, is so-called informational queries. There is a great chunk of searches where people want to get some kind of information. Some good examples of the most widespread searches of this kind would be: “how to”, “guide”, “tutorial”, “example”, “what is”, “what are”, etc. Again, please make sure to take into account the specific character of your business - probably that would be your target audience – but if not, try to avoid these word combinations in your keyword set.

For our case we left out the keywords featuring the word “template”, as it also doesn’t respond to the target traffic we would like to attract to the website offering web design services to other companies.

A final note

Work with negative keywords should be a must-have stage for any businesses, including B2B sphere. Chances are such keywords could be included in the final keyword list, since they usually have a high volume of online searches. To avoid this pitfall, the company should know and beware of such keywords, which are typical for its particular niche. Generally, negative keywords for B2B websites are connected with job search, education, free resources, and obtaining some kind of information. The list is not exhaustive and could be expanded depending on the website business field.

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