Yahoo Sponsored Search and Google AdWords both provide tools to prevent your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising ads from showing on terms that are a waste of money or not applicable to your PPC campaign goals. That’s about it for similarities on this subject, as this feature has different names and functions in very different capacities at both Google and Yahoo.
Difference 1: Their Names: Yahoo calls their keyword exclusion tool “excluded words” and Google calls it “negative keywords.”
Difference 2: Where They Are Put in the Account: Yahoo lets you put excluded words on the account level and/or the AdGroup level, while Google allows you to put negative keywords on the Campaign and/or AdGroup (note to Yahoo – Campaign level excluded terms are a must!).
Difference 3: How they actually work: The way the excluded/negative terms work is vastly different at Google and Yahoo, and can be a bit confusing.
First Google: you can enter negative keywords as broad, phrase and/or exact match. Adding a negative keyword as broad match prevents your ad from showing when that term is used anywhere in a search phrase, and exact match negative keywords will prevent that specific term from displaying your ad. Example: the broad negative keyword is bouquet – your ad will not show for any search with the word bouquet in it. For a phrase match example, if the negative keyword is the phrase “balloon bouquet” then your ad will not show for a search for balloon bouquet delivery, or cheap balloon bouquet; and if the negative keyword is [balloon], your ad will not show on any search for just the word balloon, but will show for the search balloons.
Now Yahoo, on the other hand, works very differently. If I was to exclude the word balloon, my ads would not show if someone were to search on just the term balloon or even balloons, UNLESS I was also advertising on the term balloon. If I exclude the term balloon, but advertise on the term helium balloon, my ad WILL show. Another example, if I exclude the term bouquet and am not advertising on any term that has bouquet in it, and someone were to search on balloon bouquet, the PPC ads would not show.
Powerful tools with fundamental differences can trip you up if you don’t know how they work. Using these tools incorrectly can cost you clicks, visitors & sales. Having a PPC management company like JumpFly who understands when to use these tools and how they can impact your account for good or bad is important.