3rd September 2019

Wondering what are Negative keywords? Don’t understand the difference between negative keywords, keywords and search terms? Wonder no more.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are words or a phrase that you can target within Google Ads, which let you exclude search terms from your campaign which either aren’t relevant or, in some cases, aren’t appropriate to that campaign. This can help you focus on only the keywords that matter to your customers. Meaning your ad gets placed in front of interested users and increases your return on investment (ROI).

Why you should use negative keywords

When most people go to search for something on Google, most of the time, they won’t just type in just the keyword that you’re bidding on.

Here’s a breakdown of the 3.5 billion searches going through Google every day by length.

  • 1 word: 21.71%
  • 2 words: 23.98%
  • 3 words: 19.60%
  • 4 words: 13.89%
  • 5 words: 8.70%
  • 6+ words: 12.12%

As you can see, around 78% of daily searches are “long tail” – they’re a long sentence or question that may happen to contain one of the keywords you are bidding on.

E.g., you might be bidding on “financial advisor” for your business.

That would be an excellent keyword to bid on since you offer financial advice, right?

However, what if someone typed in:

“how do I report a bad financial advisor” or “financial advisor jobs.”

Both these searches contain your keyword, but the user is not looking for your services right now – get it?

What are the types of negative keywords?

Broad match or exact match are two of the ways you can use negative keywords.

Negative broad match

This is the default for negative keywords. Negative broad match keywords mean that your ad won’t show if the search contains all of your negative keyword terms, regardless of whether the words are in a different order. However, your ad may still show if the search includes only some of your keyword terms.

Negative exact match

Negative exact match keywords mean that your ad won’t show if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the same order and without extra words. However, your ad may still show if the search includes the keyword terms with additional words.

It’s important to note that negative match types work slightly differently from positive keywords. That being you’ll need to add synonyms, singular or plural versions, misspellings and other close variations if you want to exclude them.

Want further reading on negative keywords? Have a look at Google’s help centre

How to use negative keywords

Image of negative keywords in google adsBefore setting up campaigns or while your campaigns are running, you can research irrelevant keywords and add them to a negative keyword list.

To add negative keywords, just go > Keywords > Negative keywords > and begin making your list.

These negative keywords will tell the Google gods which searches you definitely don’t want to show up for.

Your negative keyword list will also help improve ad relevancy scores, helping to enhance your PPC success further.

This should save you and your business a lot of money before you even start your campaigns, and hopefully stop your campaigns floating around the Google abyss aimlessly spending money on non-relevant visitors.


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