Group Blocking: Tactical Negative Keywords for very Similar Ad Groups

Professionals in any new industry are often confronted with a lack of words to describe their day-to-day actions. They basically don’t have a standardized industry vocabulary to say efficiently what they’d like to say. Often they derail a conversation to explain an idea. In short, the terms haven’t been adopted or created yet.

For instance, take the term “bounce.” Ten years ago the “bounce” was mostly used to describe something a ball did. Or perhaps the term was used by a hipster searching for a bigger, better party. In our industry the term “bounce” is now used to describe…x, y, z. And that’s my point. I don’t have to define the term “bounce” to members of our community because most of us already know the meaning of the term. “Bounce” has become such a popular term with the paid search community that the single term now takes the place a small paragraph, or a 5 minute conversation. If only we had an industry vernacular committee that put all our tribal knowledge into concise standardized terms for us.

Today we’d like to offer a suggested term to the Paid Search Vernacular Committee, or PSVC, to define a series of actions that we feel deserve a single term. While we use this method as a standard practice, we know our tactic is not an industry standard practice. We’ve seen a lot of success with the tactic which is why we offer it up for discussion here. Our term is “group blocking.”

“Group blocking” involves the practice of using negative keywords—usually phrase and exact—to steer traffic to the correct ad group. Some of you are saying, “Oh yeah, I do that.” Others are saying, “Whaaaa?” So I’ll be more specific. Let’s say you have a campaign with many ad groups that are somewhat related to each other. The keywords in each ad group are close to the keywords in the other ad groups, but they are different. And, you’d like your potential visitors to trigger the correct ad. You’ve tried other options but ultimately the only way you can insure that your potential visitors trigger ad copy that is highly related to their search is to break out new ad groups. This is where “group blocking” comes into play.

Here’s an example: let’s say your ad groups are “Brand O television,” “Brand O HDTV,” “Brand O Plasma Screens,” and “Brand O LCD’s.” Now you can imagine the keywords in each ad group are going to be highly related, but in the end potential visitors need to see the correct ad.

In this scenario we would “group block” each ad group with negative keywords. For the “Brand O HDTV” ad group we’d put the main keywords in the other ad groups as negatives for the “Brand O HDTV” ad group. The list of negatives would include LCD, LCDs, television, and plasma—but not HDTV. Now “group block” the other ad groups in the same manner. This helps steer traffic to the correct ad group.

As a seasoned paid search marketer you may already be engaged in this practice and you may have a term you use to define the idea. But since I don’t know it, I would suggest that you haven’t really marketed it very well. And unless you’ve already filled out a RFC2501-B Form correctly and filed it with the PSVC then I would suggest we all start saving some words and just start “group blocking.”