Negative keywords often save a lot of money in PPC.
Local businesses generally don’t want traffic for queries containing other states.
I live in Columbus, Ohio and run a couple dozen AdWords campaigns for local businesses.
Negative Keywords: States With Cities Named Columbus
Most often I would see ‘Columbus GA’ or ‘Columbus Georgia’ in AdWords queries; initially, I would exclude them when I came across them.
- Columbus, Georgia
- Columbus, Indiana
- Columbus, Mississippi
- Columbus, Nebraska
- Columbus, Texas
- Columbus, Wisconsin
- Columbus, Montana
It took me a while to figure out that I should just add all those states as negative keywords.
The 49 Other States To Use As Negative Keywords for PPC
Once I started thinking about that, I realized I could add every state other than Ohio to the negative keyword list.
Here’s the list (remove your state from the list before adding it to your ‘Shared Library’ as a negative keyword list):
- “New Hampshire”
- “New Jersey”
- “New Mexico”
- “New York”
- “North Carolina”
- “North Dakota”
- “Rhode Island”
- “South Carolina”
- “South Dakota”
- “West Virginia”
Punctuation, which in this case dictate match type matters. You may have to strip the double quotes and manually set the match type of the negative keywords if using the AdWords Editor.
State abbreviations as Negative Keywords
I learned this the hard way: The 2 letter state abbreviations match a whole lot of stuff you probably don’t want to prevent your ads from showing on.
The best example of this (which is obvious when pointed out specifically) is the abbreviation for Indiana which is
IN added to your negative keywords list prevents ads from showing on searches like
my service IN my city.
There are several other state abbreviations that can trip you up as well like Lousianna which is abbreviated
LA and Montana which is abbreviated
MT. Having those will prevent your ads from showing on queries containing
hotels near la guardia airport) or
restaurants in mt vernon ohio).
I’m sure there’s other states with abbreviations that could cause problems, so I recommend avoiding adding them wholesale.
That said, here’s the list of US state abbreviations:
Let me say again: Don’t use the abbreviations without careful review.
Additionally, it’s wise to keep in mind that ‘Washington D.C.’ and therefore ‘DC’ is an additional municipality that should be account for.
By making smart—even better—proactive negative keyword lists and adding them to your shared library you save yourself a lot of wasted clicks and needless expense.