0% Complete
0/0 Steps
  1. Gads account organization
    9 Topics
    1 Quiz
  2. Search ads
    36 Topics
    1 Quiz
  3. Display Ads
    16 Topics
    1 Quiz
  4. Video Ads
    17 Topics
    1 Quiz
  5. Analytics
    19 Topics
    1 Quiz
  6. GAds Optimization
    8 Topics
    1 Quiz
  7. Audience Manager
    8 Topics
    1 Quiz
  8. GAds tools and settings
    26 Topics
    1 Quiz
  9. Google Ads and Facebook
    9 Topics
    1 Quiz
Lesson 6, Topic 5
In Progress

Negative Keywords

Lesson Progress
0% Complete

Negative keywords are those closely related phrases that aren’t relevant to your target. Filtering out these keywords in your Google Ads is an efficient way to save money and stretch your marketing budget just a little bit further.

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are those that sound as though they would relate to your primary topic, but they don’t.

For example, let’s say you own a website that sells crystals and geodes to hobbyists.

You place Google ads for the search term red rocks.

When a random person types in that phrase into their search bar to look for information on attending a concert at the famed amphitheater in Colorado, they’re going to be sorely disappointed that all you’re doing is selling literal red rocks.

Thus, you’ve wasted a paid click.

This is how negative keywords work. 

Not only do they help you differentiate between specific subjects and those that are highly niche, but they also make it easier for people to find information about the topic they are interested in understanding.

By keeping your pay-per-click ad from showing up for people who aren’t looking for what’s on your website, you’re also helping minimize instances of low time on page, too.

Why Are Negative Keywords Used?

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.

Well, they could… But we digress.

By adding a list of negative keywords to your Google AdWords, you can help the cause and improve overall search intent by making it easier for the search engine to not show your ad for specific searches.

Taking the same example, you can use the term Red Rocks Amphitheater as a negative keyword.

If someone types in red rocks your ad will not show up. But it will for red rock and other similar options.

See what we’re getting at here?

Negative keywords are specifically designed to make it easier to drill down and reach your target audience while eliminating ad spend waste and streamlining your pay-per-click process.

Negative keywords help your ads show for searchers who are actively looking for your product. In effect, by only focusing on clicks/keywords that are most likely to convert, you will lower your overall cost-per-conversion, increase CTR, reduce audience reach in networks and the cost of achieving the goal.

Types of Negative Keywords

Of course, sometimes you want your ad to show up for broad phrases. 

That’s why there are varying negative keyword types within Google Ad Words to ensure you’re showing up in the places you want to and not in the ones you don’t.

Negative Broad Match Keywords

When using this process to eliminate keywords, negative broad match is the one that is used by default. 

Essentially, this will hide your ad from search when someone looks for a query with all of your keyword terms. 

However, if they leave one or more off, then your ad will still show.

Negative Phrase Match Keywords

A negative phrase match ensures your paid ad won’t show up if someone looks for those exact words in the same order, even if there are other words added. 

Using our example, a negative phrase match keyword for Red Rocks Amphitheater would still be blocked if the search query was Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

Negative Exact Match Keywords

When you list a phrase as a negative exact match keyword, your ads won’t show up when someone searches for the exact words in the same order with no additional terms added. 

This is a great option to use when it comes to brand names that are close together or your offer is similar to that of a competitor.

How to Find Negative Keywords

While it sounds like the process of finding negative keywords might be difficult, the truth is that it is sometimes easier to do than ordinary keyword research. 

Here are a few ways to make it happen.

In the most basic sense, Google itself is a great way to find negative keywords. 

Often, all you need to do is type in your desired keyword and see what comes up.

If you notice a lot of unrelated ads or links in the SERPs, then you’ll want to take note and add those items to your negative keywords list in AdWords.

Google Search Console

 Check Google Search Console to see where your current pages are ranking. 

Sometimes, you’ll see a few negative keywords pop up in the analytics and you can use this to fine-tune your paid ads.

Just be careful that you aren’t getting too close to a positive keyword that you’re ranking well for organically, as putting it on the blocked list could have a greater effect on your overall traffic.

Google Keyword Planner

Of course, Google makes the process of finding negative keywords super simple through the Keyword Planner tool.

When searching for a term, you have the option of seeing broad search terms. Turn this function on to see what might pop up when someone is looking for a query.

Jot down the ones you don’t want your ads to show up for and add them to your AdWords account for the campaign to keep them blocked.


Not all searches happen on Google, which is why using a keyword tool like Soovle can be extra helpful.

This free platform allows you to check broad match keywords in other search engines, like Amazon for eCommerce and YouTube for video marketing.

Find new keywords with the Keyword Planner

When building a Search Network campaign, get keyword ideas and estimate traffic for those keywords with the Keyword Planner.

This tool will show you how a list of keywords might perform and the average number of times people searched for those terms. Use this information to decide which keywords might increase clicks on your and increase awareness of your product.


If you enter the phrase “running shoe” in the Keyword Planner, it might show you “discount running shoes” or “motion control running shoes” as additional keywords to consider. For each keyword idea, you’ll get statistics showing how competitive the keyword is and the average number of times people searched for that term worldwide.

Improve your clickthrough rate with negative keywords.

In some cases, you’ll want to prevent your ad from showing for terms that aren’t relevant to your product or service. Try adding negative keywords to help you reduce costs and make your ad appear only for the search terms you want.

Learn more about adding negative keywords to your campaign.


Let’s say the running shoe store you own sells only men’s shoes. You might consider adding “women” and “girls” as negative keywords to prevent your ad from showing when people search for women’s shoes or girls’ shoes.

Use the search terms report

The search terms report gives you information on what people were searching for when they saw your ad and clicked it. This information can help you remove poorly performing keywords or add new keywords. You can also use the search terms report to help you identify negative keywords.

Learn more about understanding the search terms report.

Use keyword match types to better control who sees your ads

Keyword match types give you greater control over who sees your ads.

For example, with the exact match option, you can specify an exact keyword, which also includes close variations of that keyword such as misspellings, plural forms, abbreviations, reordered words, and other variations with the same meaning. For details, see Exact match: Definition.

Learn more about using keyword match types.


If you want to show your ad only to people interested in buying men’s running shoes, you might want to add a term like “men’s running shoes” as an exact match keyword.

That way, your ad will be eligible to show when people search for that exact term or a close variation such as “running shoes for men.” Your ad won’t show when people search for terms like “best running shoes for men” because that phrase includes the term “best,” which isn’t an exact part of your keyword or close variations of it.