how to use negative keywords in google search campaigns

Google ad-words-Negative Keywords

Negative keywords

Before going to set up negative keywords in campaign, we need to analyse in below mentioned aspects

  • Why to use 
  • How to use 
  • Where to get 

As a digital marketing manager, I always concerned about how i make sure to serve relevant queries to users. Fortunately, google has negative keywords to help us.

It helps you to fight off the irrelevant search terms . It also gives you ability to restrict the keyword visibility.

Note: This chapter is about using negative keywords. If you want to learn more about it on how they work & types, you can see Keyword Match types 

How to use negative keywords?

Only case where you don’t have to use (-ve) keywords is using only exact match keywords in account.

If you’re using phrase or broad match keywords in your account, there’s two challenges.

Problem 1

You can’t possibly predict irrelevant search queries for a broad match keyword in the future

Problem 2

You have to make sure same irrelevant search queries triggers next time.

Negative keywords are the solution to both problems.

Scope of negative keywords

Scope of Negative keywords

Not all the negative keywords are equal. You have to decide the level of scope for each negative keywords. To explain this let’s imagine we are creating a campaign for selling children’s books.

Keyword : Buy children’s books  ( broad match keyword)

There’s three level of scope,

  • Account level
  • Campaign level
  • Ad group level

Let’s consider how we can come up with negative keywords for each level and the logic of why we using it.

Account level :

In this level, you’re negative should be helpful to filter out the queries that aren’t radically related to your business. In our case , we are an eCommerce , we’re trying to sell children’s book in one ad group.

However, for an eCommerce,  FREE would be a negative keyword since you are a seller and you can’t give stuffs for free.

How to come up with more negative keywords for account level scope?

Think of keywords that are radically opposite to your Line of business and then it should also be related to your product or services.

For an eCommerce + book , possible negative for a broad match for account level would be

  • Book lending
  • Book library
  • Book download
  • Books for free

Book written by

You can easily arrive at account level negative keywords like lending, library , download , free and “book written by”

Campaign level:

Campaign level negative keywords would help you to exclude little specific queries that aren’t relevant to your services/ products.

For a campaign that sells books, Keywords like

  • Book reviews
  • Book writing tips
  • How to write a book
  • How to sell a book

If you notice these keywords those are about learning to write, selling and review but not about buying a book. Queries are related to books but not related to buying.

Ad group level:

These are hyper specific negative keywords that are related but you aren’t selling those product.

For example search queries like,

  • Buy children’s book in Hindi
  • Buy children’s book for kindergarten
  • But adult coloring books for children’s.

If you see those keywords, it is related to books and about to buying. But if you aren’t selling those types of books you can add them in the ad-group level negatives.

In-a-nutshell, Put keywords that are relevant to your product / service but straight opposite to your business domain. – Account level (-‘ve) keywords

Put keywords that are relevant to your product, relevant to domain but doesn’t have intent – Campaign level (-‘ve) keywords.

Put keywords that are relevant to your product , relevant to your domain , have intent but you don’t sell – Ad group level (-‘ve) keywords.

How to get ?

Sources of Negative keywords

Search terms report

One of the best source of finding potential negatives is search terms report. Search terms report contains user search queries that are matched with your keywords. You can download search terms based on data range and even you can filter keyword wise.

Once you downloaded the report, you can review the search terms and add them in various scopes.

Related searches

Search terms report helps you to prevent the irrelevant search queries second time. If you can use related searches you can get the negative even before actually happens. Because google gives you list of related keywords people also search. So people are going to search and you’re already set for that.

How to implement?

You can use two methods. You can use list in the shared library for campaign wise keywords. Or you can manually add keywords in the negative keywords section.

By yathav

I'm very passionate about technology, marketing & analytics. Using WordPress and working on blogging & search engine optimization for almost 8+ years, I'd like to share my thoughts, hacks and best practices about what i do professionally & what I experience.


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