Home Google Ads Negative Keyword Guide For Google Ads

Negative Keyword Guide For Google Ads

No doubts that Google Ads is a great marketing platform. Also you need to do optimizations for getting the best results. In this guide, we are going to examine the “negative keywords”. Afterward, a great tip for managing negative keywords is going to be remarked.

What are the Negative Keywords?

Roughly speaking, they are the opposite of keywords. Normally, keywords indicate themselves or related terms, but negative keywords block search terms.

For example:

Let’s say your keyword is “camping equipment” (phrase match).
in this case “free camping equipment” (phrase match) is your negative keyword.

Your ad will appear with

camping equipment prices
buy camping equipment
camping equipment free (Hey! We don’t want this term. We will cover this further.)

Your ad won’t appear with

free camping equipment
free camping equipment draws

Why Negative Keywords Are Important?

If we use only exact match keywords, there is no need for using negative keywords. This statement is almost true but the problem is that we might miss lots of major search terms (it also means to miss the customer, sales, etc.)

With negative keywords, we can use phrase match and broad modified match keywords for discovering and getting clicks with new search terms. It should be admitted that everyone is different and there is no way to predict all possibilities.

What Do I Need to Know About Negative Keywords?

They have different matching types

They have the phrase match and the exact match types. Those work very similarly to the ‘normal’ keywords. The phrase match blocks when the phrase appeared, the exact match blocks when negative keyword exactly matches the search query. Negative broad (close variants, semantic matching) match does not exist.

They have different levels

Negative keywords have various levels. If you know Google Ads account structure, it is very easy to get how to use them for different levels. Generally, you might want to add completely irrelevant terms to campaign-level negative, or using them in a negative keyword list.

Ad group level negative keywords are generally used for blocking keyword cannibalization. If your ad groups are pretty similar, your keywords might trigger different ad groups.

For example:

Ad Group A keywords: “tennis rackets”
Ad Group B keywords: “ping-pong rackets”

In this case; “tennis rackets” (in Ad Group A) will trigger “ping-pong racket” (in Ad Group B). For avoiding this situation, you must add negative keywords to Ad Group A.

You might add negative keywords:”ping-pong” to Ad Group A.

Note: If your account structure is heavily based on campaigns (you are creating a campaign for any theme), you might use negative keywords campaign level for blocking keyword cannibalization.

They need regular checks

Checking the account for a negative keyword should be a regular task. However, there is no specific time period for checking negative keywords. Depending on the situation, you might have to check negative keywords more often (not a complete list, check your negative keywords as frequently as possible).
For instance:
Phrase match, broad modified match keyword ratio: If you use these matching types usually. You might check negative keywords closely.
CPC: If you are in a highly competitive industry. Your CPC’s might be quite high. It, too, would increase your checking frequency.
Your Product / Service: Some products or services might bring irrelevant queries than niche businesses.
Account Budget: If your budget is very high. Your keywords would get a lot of impressions, clicks. Thus, this requires checking them more often.
Your Negative Keyword List Size: If your account is new. Your negative keyword list would be empty or short. In time, your negative keyword list would work effectively and reduce irrelevant queries.

They might increase your performance

You will decrease or completely block irrelevant clicks: Blocking irrelevant clicks would save the budget.
You might increase your keyword quality score: Users usually click ads than when they come across with an irrelevant landing page, they click the undo button naturally. This indicates to the system that “the user is not interested in landing page”. When you block irrelevant queries, your ads will appear on high relevancy queries and it can affect your keyword quality score in a positive manner.
You might prevent internal keyword competition: Negative keywords are great for preventing internal keyword competition.

An Effective Way for Working with Negative Keywords

When you came across an irrelevant search term, you might click it and add it as a negative keyword easily. You can also use negative keyword lists. It is effective and time-saving.

For example:
Let’s assume you are selling porcelain mugs only and your keyword is;
“porcelain mugs”

Your ad will trigger:
“how to clean porcelain mugs”
“cleaning porcelain mugs”

  1. Find what disturbs us there. Obviously, it is the cleaning part.
  2. Create a negative keyword list.
  3. Add “clean”, “cleaning” to the list. Also, we could add the keyword “remove”. This part depends on our creativity.
  4. Do not forget to apply this list to your campaign or ad group.

What is the point of this?

If we have blocked
“how to clean porcelain mugs”
“cleaning porcelain mugs”
search terms only, only exactly these queries will be blocked.

But our list has a potential that it will block further search terms.
For instance, we have blocked these potential queries, as well.
“Products for cleaning porcelain mugs”
clean porcelain mugs naturally”

In this way, you might block more irrelevant queries easily.


Paying attention to Negative Keywords are vital for Google Ads optimizations. Bear in mind to check search terms for negative keywords (also for new keywords). Checking keywords for keyword cannibalization (briefly; internal keyword competition, one search term triggered to different keywords) would be useful, as well.


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