Utilizing negative keywords can help you refine your ad campaigns by reaching the most interested potential customers. They can also help reduce your costs and increase your return on investment (ROI).
Negative keywords will prevent your ad from showing to people who are searching for or visiting sites about things you do not offer, show your ads to people who are most likely to click on them and help reduce cost by excluding keywords where you’re spending money and not getting a return. Choose negative keywords that are similar to your other keywords, but signal that people are searching for a different product or service. For example, if you’re selling Rolls Royce limousines, you’ll want to add “Cadillac” to your negative keywords list. The reason you wouldn’t add “Cadillac limousines” to your negative list is because Google might still fire your ad for searches for “Cadillac limos”or other variations of the term “limousine.”
Negative Match Types
Exact Negative: For one of our clients in the travel industry, we used exact negative matches for terms like [Cancun hotel death] and [Cancun hotel accidents] to ensure our Cancun hotel ads did not fire for search terms like these.
Phrase Negative: A good example of when to use phrase negative matches is the example we used above with Rolls Royce limousines. You can add other phrase negatives for other limousine makes, like “Ford.”
Broad Negative: It is generally best to avoid using this keyword match type. As you learned in Keyword Match Types, broad match ads will fire for synonyms, close variants, acronyms etc. Continuing with our Cancun travel example, you should avoid using broad negative matches like Cancun travel death because Google associates traveling with hotels and will still show your ads for these searches.
How to Use Negative Match Types
Which negative match type you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve. For example, let’s pretend you are managing a PPC account for a travel company that promotes hotels, but not flights. If you add the keyword “flight” to your phrase negative keyword list, it would prevent your ads from showing for searches like “Cancun hotel and flight.” To avoid this, you would add “flight” to your exact Negative keyword list. So when might you use the phrase negative match type? Continuing with the same travel company example, you might add the keyword “death” to your phrase negative keyword list to prevent your ads from showing for searches like “Cancun Hotel death” when using the keywords “Cancun hotels.”
How to add Negative Keywords to ad groups and campaigns
- First, we enter all of our negative keywords to an Excel spreadsheet.
- When we are adding negative keywords to specific match types, we use a special tool that adds the necessary punctuation to a large keyword list (parentheses for phrase, brackets for exact etc.).
- Once you have a list of negative keywords, go to All online campaigns, then click Keywords.
- Scroll down to the bottom of your keyword list to find and click the Negative keywords option.
- Here, you can add negative keywords at the ad group level or at the campaign level.
- Click Add above the ad group or campaign to which you’d like to add your negative keywords.
- Select the ad group or campaign name from the drop down menu.
- Add your keywords (one per line).
- When you are done, click Save.
Next, learn about Building Out Keyword Lists (Google, Wordstream & More).