What Are Negative Keywords?

  • Dec, 2018

  • Pay Per Click

  • Daniel Hilsden

The Short Version

Negative keywords can help optimise your account and significantly reduce monthly advertising loss through unrelated searches. By preventing your ads from appearing when a user searches for something that's not entirely related to the product or service you offer allows for you to better invest money into areas that you know are providing good returns.

The Purpose of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords allow you to exclude your adverts from showing to visitors or customers who may be LESS interested in your products are services. Let's say you own a vintage wine shop that sells luxury wine glasses to customers. As your most profitable source of revenue, you want to make sure that you send highly interested traffic to your website. What you don't want to happen, is send people to your page who are searching for reading glasses or sunglasses as you do not sell either of these products. To prevent your advert from showing when users search reading or sun you need to make sure you add these terms as negative keywords.

Negative Keywords And Match Types

Match types will directly influence how Google Ads determines whether or not to serve your ad.

Excluding the keyword [coffee shops in london] as exact match means your ad would never get shown if a user searched coffee shops in london in that exact order and with no additional words.

Phrase match negatives are useful in removing certain phrases (as the name suggests) from triggering your ads. For example, if you work in a service sector and don't offer advice to clients, it may be worthwhile adding the negative keyword "how do i" as many of these searches may pertain to people looking for DIY-style advice, and not necessarily relate to a business offering a service.

Broad match and broad match modified keywords are beneficial when it comes to creating campaign and ad group negatives. I would not recommend using them unless you consider yourself to be an advanced user of Google Ads; they have the potential to exclude a lot of keywords from your campaigns if you aren't confident in what you're doing.

What Are The Benefits Of Negatives?

By using negative keywords effectively, you can:

- Reduce campaign budget loss

- Exclude irrelevant search traffic

- Reduce campaign Avg. CPC

- Improve account, campaign and ad group Quality Scores

- Minimise the number of unrelated searches coming through to your account

What Does This Mean For My Account?

The overall spend on campaigns will get reduced by eliminating terms unrelated to the products or services offered by your business.

Having control over what type of search triggers your advert is a powerful tool which allows you to avoid accruing clicks that won't turn into business or sales.

By removing unrelated search terms in your AdWords account, you'll likely see an improvement in your quality score for the keywords you are trying to advertise with. A building service business wouldn't want to attract people looking for apprenticeships or work experience. Therefore the solution would be to include the terms apprenticeships and work experience as phrase match negatives in your account.

About The Author


I believe in providing local businesses with modern, jargon-free services to help them grow in a competitive online marketplace.

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