June 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Being specific and being negative boosts paid-search, Golfballs.com says

The more specific a retailer can be with keywords in ad campaigns, the more relevant ads become for consumers and the more likely consumers are to convert into buyers, says Golfballs.com`s Steven Broussard. Negative keywords boost ROI, too, he says.

Success in search marketing hinges on placing a highly relevant ad in front of potential customers-content that guides them directly to what they want. The more specific a retailer can be with its keywords, the more relevant its ads will be to shoppers, and the more chance they have of converting shoppers into buyers, said Steven Broussard, director of marketing and e-commerce at Golfballs.com Inc., in the IRCE 2009 session "Tracking keywords to determine ROI."

"Be as specific as possible in your keywords, ad copy and landing pages," he advised. "General keywords often drive a lot of clicks without a lot of conversions because the relevance between the keywords, ad copy and landing pages are not what the customer is looking for."

One way retailers can aid search programs and boost return on investment is by using negative keywords. These can help eliminate irrelevant search traffic that generates clicks, which retailers must pay for, but not sales.

"Negative keywords are one of the most important, and most often overlooked, aspects of successful pay-per-click campaigns," said Broussard of Goldballs.com, No. 453 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. "Negative keywords should lower your cost and increase your relevancy. In 2008 we had fewer than 200 negative keywords, now we have more than 2000."

For example, Golfballs.com does not want traffic to its site stemming from an online shopper searching "clearance," "free" or "discount" with "Titleist Golfballs."

"I don`t offer that-every time my ad shows up I`m paying for my click and reducing the ROI," Broussard explained. "The infusion of negative keywords helps you generate a higher ROI."

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