What Are Negative Keywords: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimizing Your Google Ads

Pay Per Click ads (PPC) is one of the most effective and fastest ways to generate business online. However, to maximize your return on investment (ROI) and ensure that you are targeting the right audience, you need to employ strategic techniques. One such technique is utilizing negative keywords in your Google Ads campaigns. In this article, we will explore what negative keywords are and how they can benefit your advertising efforts.

Negative keywords in Google Ads refer to a type of keyword that prevents your ads from being displayed in search results when specific search terms, keywords, or phrases are used. By implementing negative keywords, you can filter out search queries that are not relevant to your business or are unlikely to generate valuable leads.

For instance, let’s say you want to generate leads for your accounting software through search ads. If someone searches for terms like “free accounting software” or “training on accounting software,” they are unlikely to be your target customers. By using “free” and “training” as negative keywords, you can avoid clicks from these search queries, saving money and improving your ROI.

There are three different match types for negative keywords, each serving a unique purpose:

  1. Broad Match: This match type excludes your ads from showing when the search query includes any word in your negative keyword phrase, regardless of the word order.
  2. Phrase Match: With this match type, your ads won’t appear if the search query contains the negative keyword phrase in the exact order you specified.
  3. Exact Match: Using exact match, your ads will only be excluded if the search query exactly matches your negative keyword phrase.

It’s important to note that negative keywords won’t match for synonyms, close variations, plurals, or similar words as regular broad match keywords do. Additionally, for single-word negative keywords, there is no difference between broad and phrase match types.

How many negative keywords can you use in Google Ads? Here are the limitations:

  • 10,000 negative keywords per campaign.
  • You can create up to 20 shared negative keyword lists per account.
  • Each negative keyword list can contain a maximum of 5,000 keywords.
  • Display Network and Video campaigns allow up to 5,000 negative keywords.

Benefits of Adding Negative Keywords:

  1. High Click-Through Rate (CTR): By excluding irrelevant search queries, your ads will have a higher CTR, indicating that they are being shown to a more targeted audience.
  2. Improved Quality Score: Negative keywords contribute to a better quality score by ensuring your ads are displayed alongside relevant search queries.
  3. High ROI: Ads appearing with more specific search queries have a higher chance of generating quality leads or sales, maximizing your return on investment.
  4. Increased Conversion Rate: Filtering out irrelevant traffic through negative keywords can lead to a higher conversion rate.
  5. Cost Savings: By avoiding clicks from irrelevant search queries, you save money that would have otherwise been spent on useless clicks.
  6. Protects Business Reputation: Excluding search queries that are not related to your business prevents potential damage to your brand reputation.

Finding Negative Keywords:

To continuously improve your campaign’s performance, it’s essential to regularly add new negative keywords. Here are some effective methods to discover new negative keywords:

  1. Brainstorming Session: Engage in a brainstorming session to identify as many potential negative keywords as possible. Think of search terms that may not be relevant to your business and eliminate them before they appear in the search query report.
  2. Search Query Report: Run a search query report to identify if your ads are triggered by irrelevant keywords. Analyze the exact terms searched and the number of clicks received. Identify irrelevant search terms and add them to your negative keyword list.
  3. Standard List of Universal Negative Keywords: For any B2B business campaigns, there are many universal negative keywords list you should use it,  Please note that before you implement these negative keywords, just make sure that they are not relevant to your business and does not affect your campaign
  4. Google’s Keyword Tool: is one of the best and quick ways to research, which also gives you a clear idea of popular search that is related to your business, which may trigger your ads, so with the careful analysis you can include or exclude keywords.

You need to carefully use the best combination of keywords on your account and campaign level to get high ROI. Feel free to contact me, if you need to know more about it or Google Ads Consultation.

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