Negative Keywords: Basics, Uses & PPC Examples




Updated 2/16/2024

Discover how negative keywords can reduce costs, improve conversion rates, and enhance ad relevance. Learn how to improve your campaigns.

negative keywords - dark key and plants

Sometimes, you want to exclude things from your results. That’s where negative keywords come in. This quick guide will cover what they are and how to use them.

What are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are words or phrases used to exclude topics from results. The term can be used in many ways. Here are some of the most common uses:

  1. Search Engines: Exclude unwanted terms from search results, refining your search to focus on relevant information.
  2. AI Prompts: Negative keywords help the AI avoid certain topics or themes, leading to more relevant and targeted responses.
  3. Content Filtering: Useful in social media and content platforms for automatically excluding posts or content containing specific undesirable terms.
  4. Email Filtering: Implement negative keywords in email settings to automatically sort out or redirect emails containing these keywords, aiding in inbox organization and spam reduction.
  5. Online Advertising: Beyond search engine marketing, negative keywords are used in social media and display advertising to prevent ads from appearing in irrelevant or inappropriate contexts.

The main idea is that they work as the opposite of regular keywords, kinda like Dark Link to regular, if you will.

Why Use Them?

Their power lies in their ability to improve the overall efficiency of your ad campaigns. Here’s why you should use them:

  1. Reduce Costs: You save money on your PPC campaigns by filtering out irrelevant ad clicks.
  2. Increase Conversion Rate: Your ads are more likely to reach users interested in your product or service, which could lead to higher conversion rates.
  3. Improve Quality Score: Google rewards relevant ads with a better Quality Score, which could lead to lower costs and better ad positions.

How to Identify Negative Keywords

This process involves understanding your business, audience, and the context in which your keywords might be used.

  1. Brainstorming: Think about words that, when associated with your keywords, would indicate the searcher isn’t your target customer.
  2. Search Terms Report: In Google Ads, use the Search Terms Report to see actual search queries triggering your ads. Look for irrelevant terms.
  3. Keyword Research Tools: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to see keyword ideas and identify ones unrelated to your business.

Adding Negative Keywords to Your Campaigns

Once you have a list, it’s time to add them to your ad campaigns.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click on “Keywords” in the page menu on the left.
  3. Click on “Negative Keywords” at the top of the page.
  4. Click on the blue plus button.
  5. Choose the campaign or ad group where you want to add negative keywords.
  6. Enter the keywords you want to filter, one per line.
  7. Click Save.

Best Practices

  • Regularly Review Your List: Analyze and update your negative keywords list to stay relevant as search trends change.
  • Be Specific: Generic negative keywords can block relevant traffic. Be specific to avoid unintentionally reducing your ad reach.
  • Use Match Types: Google Ads allows you to define how your negative keywords are matched to search queries. You can use broad, phrase, or exact match types based on your needs.

Bottom Line

Negative keywords can be applied to many uses, but they are mostly an important aspect of managing successful SEM and PPC campaigns.

You can use them to improve ad relevance, reduce costs, and increase conversions. Like any strategy, it’s about continual refinement and adjustment based on your evolving results and needs. ?

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