The Importance Of Negative Keywords: The Ultimate Guide


If you’re in search engine marketing, then you know that negative keywords can be some of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. But if you’re not familiar with how to use them or why they are so important, then this guide is for you. In it we’ll go over what negative keywords are and how they can help boost your ROI and even reduce your costs.

What Are Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are words or phrases that you don’t want your ads to show for. They’re used so that your ads don’t show when someone is searching for something irrelevant to your product or service.

For example, if I own an e-commerce store selling men’s shirts, I might have an ad group called “Men’s Shirts.” If a user searched for “black men’s shirt,” my ad would still be eligible to appear even though there aren’t any black shirts in stock at the moment. That’s because the search term itself isn’t a negative keyword; it just happens to match one of my existing ads.

The same goes if someone searches for “women’s t-shirt” on my site—that term doesn’t exclude me from showing up since some of my products may fit into that category as well (though they’re more likely going to be labeled as “men”).

However, the likelihood of the person above clicking through to my website is very low. This can affect the quality score of my ads and the click through rate, making my ads less relevant and therefore affecting the visibility of the ads. This is where negative keywords come in handy. I would want to exclude the keyword “women’s” because it has nothing to do with my products and I don’t want my ads to show up for that keyword.

Negative Keyword Match Types and Symbols

Types Of Negative Keywords

There are three main types of negative keywords:

  • Negative broad match: These are broad-based terms that you’re using to block out traffic from searches that don’t fit your brand or product.
  • Negative exact match: This is the most common type used in advertising, and it excludes certain words or phrases from being triggered by your ads. For example, if you sell flowers but not bouquets, you might want to exclude “bouquets” from your campaigns so that you don’t accidentally show up for searches related to them (and take on a lot of extra competition).
  • Negative phrase match: This works similarly to negative exact match except it uses quotation marks around two words instead of one word—making it even more specific about what ads shouldn’t appear on specific keywords within search results pages (SERPs).

How to Find Negative Keywords

Search Term Report

Run a search query report. Google Analytics has a built-in Search Query report that will provide you with the most commonly used keywords on your website. Use this report to find out which negative keywords are being used by your customers and how many times they were searched for. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you can use SEMrush or Ahrefs to generate lists of related keywords from your competitors’ websites.

SEMrush and Ahref

Find Negative Keywords Using SEMrush or Ahrefs For free versions of these tools. These tools allow you to enter in as much information about your website as possible so that they can give you relevant suggestions on what types of negative keywords might work well for your site. Search on Google for related and unrelated keywords. A simple Google search can sometimes give you ideas for keyword research as well as keywords that have nothing to do with your product or service.

Google Keyword Planner

The free keyword planning tool makes it incredibly easy to find negative keywords. The best way to find those negatives is by searching for the broader terms. Doing this will allow you to see the queries that most people search for. Ensure to enter the broad keywords that you do not want to include later on.

How to Add Negative Keywords

Google Ads

In your Ads account, you can add negative keywords by going to the settings tab and selecting negatives. You will then be prompted with a list of all your existing keywords as well as an option to create new ones. You can select one or more keywords to be added by clicking on the checkbox next to them. You then have two options: Add new negative keyword(s) or Add selected negative keyword(s). The former allows you to add new terms not already listed in your advertiser account; whereas the latter lets you add multiple terms at once through bulk selection (selecting all).

Bing Ads

To add a negative keyword in Bing Ads, simply go into any campaign where the Negative Keyword Set is selected under “Ad Group Type” then click on “Manage Negative Keywords” on the left sidebar menu. From there, type a word or phrase into the search bar and click “Add” if it appears in any of your existing ads or keywords. Your existing ads won’t change.

Adding negative keywords has a number of advantages. It helps you avoid irrelevant traffic, target your ads to the right audience and save money on ad spend.

  • Avoid irrelevant traffic.
  • If someone searches for “women’s hats” but they’re looking for something else entirely (like “buy women’s hats”), you want to keep these searchers away from your site so they don’t waste their time or yours.
  • Negative keywords are also helpful if there are words that aren’t relevant to what you’re selling—for example, if you’re selling an online course about “how to make money” but someone is searching for “make money with no job required” (which is actually not true), adding this keyword as a negative keyword can help avoid sending them to your site accidentally when they don’t want anything related at all!

Advantages to Adding Negative Keywords

Reduce the number of uninterested impressions on your account by blocking ads that don’t match irrelevant queries. This will make your CTR go up.

By excluding irrelevant keywords, you may make your ad groups more specific to your business’ needs. Ads can be more effectively targeted when grouped into small, semantically related sets.

Put that extra cash in your pocket! You can save a lot of money on advertising by excluding searchers who aren’t likely to become customers. Also, your keyword-level statistics will be more accurate because you won’t be bidding against yourself for impressions.

To increase your conversion rate, you can use “negative keywords” to keep your ads from showing up when people search for things like the names of your competitors or phrases that don’t suggest any kind of commercial intent.

While keywords are one of the most important parts of your ad campaigns, they are also among the most misunderstood. While there are plenty of resources out there that offer a basic idea of what keywords are and why you should use them, many people still don’t know much beyond that level. And that can lead to some major mistakes when it comes to setting up your campaigns!

Keywords have an incredible impact on how well your ads perform, which means it’s essential for you to understand all there is about them before diving in headfirst. Negative keywords have the ability to make your campaign more specific and focused, which means you’ll get more relevant clicks. This can help you lower your costs per click (CPC) and increase your return on investment (ROI). They also allow you to target a more specific audience, making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for in an ad that displays their exact needs.