The Mystery of Negative Keywords

This article will talk about negative keywords in SEO and how to use them effectively!

Negative keywords are used to prevent your ads from showing to people who are actively searching queries unrelated to the services or products you provide. In turn, giving your business the opportunity to reach the best potential audience whilst efficiently spending your campaign budget and avoiding wasting money on clicks that just won’t convert.

The key to success with paid campaigns is knowing exactly who you’re targeting to ultimately maximize CTR and conversions. Your goal should be to target relevant keywords as well as refining the keywords you’re bidding on. This increases relevance and ROI.

The Use of Negative Keywords

Simply put, negative keywords are designed to keep the search engine from mixing results up about differing topics. As we showed in the example above, someone interested in Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado probably doesn’t want to buy scarlet-hued geodes.

By adding a list of negative keywords to your Google AdWords, you can improve overall search intent by making it easier for the search engine to not show your ad for specific searches. Using the same example, you can use the term Red Rocks Amphitheater as a negative keyword. If someone writes red rocks in the query, your ad will not show up. But it will for red rock and other similar options. Do you see what we’re getting at here?

Negative keywords are intentionally designed to make it easier when drilling down and reaching your target audience. All this while they eliminate ad spend waste and streamline your pay-per-click process.

Negative Keywords: Campaign-Level Vs Adgroup-Level 


There are two kinds of negative keywords. You can add them at the campaign level: implying that they don’t ever show any of these ads for the appropriate keywords. Moving forward, you can include them at the ad group level: meaning, don’t show my ads for negative keywords in this particular ad group.

The former comes into play when you know you don’t want your ads to show up for a given search. For example, if you sell tennis shoes, but there are no black shoes in your inventory and never will be, you want negative “black tennis shoes.”

Adgroup-level negative keywords can be used to protect certain ad groups. They ensure control over which chunks of the account are in action for assigned terms. We’ll discuss later as in this case you might want to save your best “black tennis shoe” ads for a group dedicated to that product. Thus, negative “black tennis shoes” in your broad match ad groups that include generic terms like +tennis +shoes.

How to Build a Strong Negative Keyword List?

Google and Bing reps should have lists of negative keywords they use for similar accounts. You’ll need to code them for relevance and ensure they don’t take important terms out of play in your campaigns. This represents a good starting point.

Furthermore, as with planning any keyword list, you should always explore Google Keyword Planner to see linked terms and understand what you might want to leave out.

Use Google’s keyword detail report to identify new negative keywords. It’s the most effective way to see what real searches are triggering your ads and weed out the ones that don’t make sense. 

Creating Lists of Negative Keywords

A Google Ads account built solely on exact match keywords is not even effective if you’re a multinational company. When faced with this situation, you need to rely on broad and phrase match keywords to ensure the perfect search volume. This helps uncover new opportunities. There is a big downside to this sort of fishing expedition. It’s because businesses are probably competing for the same impressions across campaigns. Let’s say you sell cat and dog clothes through your eCommerce website.

Without removing the word cat in your dog clothes campaigns, you’ll find the issue of Google deciding to match a broad match cat keyword to a dog-related search query. The results will be irrelevant to the searcher. For instance, If they don’t click it, your CTR is watered down over time. If they do, the landing page will have nothing to do with the search intent. This is known as a lose-lose.

Negative Keywords: An Underutilized Gem

Usually, bidding on the best keywords in your space is where half the battle is won. Your success mostly depends upon having a sophisticated set of negative keywords. A set of keywords that are continuously expanding and refined based on real time data. Google does a tremendous job of sorting through millions of ads to serve the right one to a given searcher at the right time. 

We hope you find this article engaging and help to understand the concept of negative keywords. Feel free to comment in case of any query!

Featured Image: Pegasus


- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow us for latest news!

- Advertisement -

Latest News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -