The Definitive Guide to Negative Keywords in 2022


Once you’re spending a number of {dollars} or extra per click on in a paid search marketing campaign, you need to ensure that your adverts attain the proper folks.

In any other case, you’re simply losing advert spend.

So how will you put your adverts in entrance of prospects? How are you going to enhance your clickthrough charge and drive extra gross sales?

With adverse key phrases.

In the event you’re not utilizing adverse key phrases in your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, your adverts are possible showing to individuals who have little to little interest in your services or products.

On this article, we’ll have a look at what adverse key phrases are and why it is best to use them. We’ll additionally cowl the totally different match sorts you need to use and go over tips on how to create your individual adverse key phrases listing.

What are adverse key phrases?

Destructive key phrases stop your adverts from showing to individuals who seek for sure phrases. They allow you to filter undesirable visitors and enhance your concentrating on.

Example of negative keywords

In the event you’re promoting on Google Advertisements, then utilizing adverse key phrases is a should.

Let’s say that you simply’re operating a marketing campaign for climbing sneakers. You may bid on related key phrases like “climbing sneakers” or “off-trail boots.”

Which means your adverts will attain folks in search of climbing sneakers, proper?

Not all the time.

Google units key phrase match sorts to broad by default, so your adverts will seem for queries like “climbing path” and “cowboy boots.”

Exhibiting up for these phrases will solely waste your advert funds if guests click on by way of. Somebody in search of “climbing path” isn’t trying to purchase sneakers and somebody looking for “cowboy boots” needs one thing that you simply don’t supply.

Including “path” and “cowboy” as adverse key phrases prevents your adverts from exhibiting up for these queries.

You’ll be able to set adverse key phrases on the account, marketing campaign, or advert group stage. That is useful when you’re operating a number of campaigns concentrating on totally different audiences.

In the event you need assistance with key phrase analysis or different components of your campaigns, take a look at HOTH PPC.

Why use adverse key phrases?

In case your Google Advertisements campaigns aren’t driving the outcomes you need, the issue isn’t essentially your adverts however slightly your key phrases and concentrating on.

Destructive key phrases, in essence, assist you to keep away from promoting to customers who’re unlikely to develop into your prospects.

Improves your advert concentrating on

Utilizing a broad match sort is an effective choice if you wish to maximize your attain. Nonetheless, your adverts can even seem for some phrases that aren’t instantly associated to your services or products.

Simply have a look at these adverts for “small enterprise accounting software program.”

Google search ads for small business accounting software

The primary two adverts from Netsuite and Intuit are related, however the third?

Not even shut.

It possible reveals up due to the phrases “small enterprise” and “software program.” Whereas FieldEdge’s adverts are seen to extra guests, they’re not all the time reaching the proper folks.

Utilizing adverse key phrases might help you enhance concentrating on by stopping your adverts from showing for phrases that aren’t prone to generate leads or gross sales.

Reduces your advert spend

Promoting on Google Advertisements isn’t low-cost.

The next graph reveals the average CPC (price per click on) throughout totally different industries:

Average cost per click in Google Ads across different industries

Earlier, we checked out adverts that seem for “small enterprise accounting software program.” Wish to know the way a lot every click on is?

About $15.

Every wasted click on is costing FieldEdge cash.

Irrespective of how a lot you’re spending on Google Advertisements, you need to make sure that your adverts attain the proper folks. Utilizing adverse key phrases might help you maximize your advert spend.

Will increase your high quality rating

High quality rating is a rating of 1 to 10 (1 being the bottom and 10 being the very best) that Google assigns to your adverts based mostly on their high quality and relevance.

Factors that make up Google’s Quality Score

High quality rating is vital as a result of it impacts your CPC and even advert placement. If customers are clicking your adverts and interacting along with your touchdown pages, it sends a robust sign to Google that your adverts are related.

A better high quality rating means:

  • Decrease prices
  • Greater advert rankings

Nonetheless, when you don’t exclude irrelevant search phrases, your impressions will shoot up and diminish your CTR. A low CTR tells Google that guests aren’t discovering your adverts related.

Excluding irrelevant phrases by including adverse key phrases might help you enhance your high quality rating and drive extra focused visitors to your touchdown pages (whereas costing much less).

Study extra about how key phrases have an effect on your Google Advertisements campaigns.

Match sorts for adverse key phrases defined

Once you first arrange a PPC marketing campaign, you need to use broad match, phrase match, or actual match key phrases to finetune your concentrating on.

The graphic beneath from Google describes how every match sort works:

Keyword match types for Google Ads

(Image Source)

Nonetheless, match sorts for adverse key phrases work otherwise. Extra particularly, you’ll want to think about issues like synonyms, plurals, misspellings, and different variations to exclude them.

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at every match sort.

Destructive broad match

Destructive broad match is the default for adverse key phrases. With this match sort, your adverts gained’t present if the search question accommodates all the adverse key phrases (no matter their order).

For example, let’s say you add “trainers” as a adverse broad match key phrase. Your adverts will seem for phrases like “blue tennis sneakers,” however not for “blue trainers.”

Example of negative broad match keywords

(Image Source)

These key phrases goal actual spelling, not phrases and ideas, so the draw back is that your adverts should still present up for phrases like “operating shoe,” “sneakers,” or “athletic shoe.”

So as to add adverse broad match key phrases, enter your phrases with none formatting (no quotations or brackets).

Destructive phrase match

Destructive phrase match key phrases are barely extra focused. With this match sort, your adverts gained’t present to searchers if the search question accommodates the precise phrases in the identical order.

Utilizing the identical instance as above, let’s say that you simply add “trainers” as a adverse phrase match key phrase. Your adverts gained’t seem for “blue trainers,” however will present for “operating exercise sneakers.”

Example of negative phrase match keywords

So as to add adverse phrase match key phrases, enter your phrases with quotes round them (e.g., “trainers”).

Destructive actual match

Lastly, adverse actual match key phrases allow you to exclude particular search queries.

Your advert gained’t present provided that the question accommodates the actual adverse phrases. They need to be in the identical order with none further phrases. In the event you add “trainers” as a adverse actual key phrase, somebody looking for “trainers” gained’t see your advert.

Example of negative example match keywords

Nonetheless, you’ll discover that the advert nonetheless reveals up for phrases like “operating shoe” and “blue trainers.” On this case, you could be higher off utilizing adverse broad or phrase match key phrases.

So as to add adverse actual match key phrases, put a bracket round your phrases (e.g., [running shoes]).

Now let’s have a look at how one can construct your adverse key phrase listing.

Methods to construct a adverse key phrase listing

Figuring out adverse key phrases can appear slightly tedious. However when you construct an inventory of adverse key phrases, you possibly can apply it to future campaigns as a substitute of including these phrases manually.

Listed here are just a few methods you possibly can establish adverse key phrases.

Google search

Google is an effective place to begin. As you begin typing in your goal key phrases, Google will present you an inventory of recommendations.

Listed here are some recommendations for “on-line tutor.”

Google search suggestions for online tutor

In the event you supply on-line tutoring providers, you need to add phrases like “free” and “jobs” into your listing of adverse key phrases, in addition to any topics you don’t supply.

Enter your important key phrases and seek for every letter of the alphabet to get a brand new set of recommendations.

Right here’s an instance once we add “a” to “on-line tutoring:”

Google autocomplete example

Proceed wanting by way of the search recommendations to search out phrases that don’t match your supply.

Take note of the adverts that seem within the search outcomes too. In the event you see any unrelated adverts, take notice and add these phrases to your listing of adverse key phrases.

Google Key phrase Planner Software

The HOTH Google Key phrase Planner Software helps you discover key phrases and phrases you could goal in a PPC marketing campaign. You can too use it to establish adverse key phrases.

Right here’s an instance of the outcomes we get for “accounting software program.”

Search results using The HOTH Google Keyword Planner

We are able to see an inventory of phrases associated to our seed key phrase. Extra importantly, there are phrases that we are able to add to our listing of adverse key phrases.

Sift by way of the outcomes and establish any phrases that you simply don’t need your adverts to look for (e.g., free, open-source, accountability software program, and so on.). Then merely repeat with different phrases to establish extra phrases.

Search phrases report

The search phrases report in Google Advertisements reveals you the searches that triggered your adverts, together with different metrics like clickthrough and conversion charges.

Log in to your Google Advertisements account and click on “Studies” on the high. Below “Predefined Studies,” click on on “Fundamental” and “Search Phrases.”

How to pull up your search terms report in Google Ads

Reviewing the search phrases report is a good way to search out key phrases so as to add to your listing. For instance, if sure key phrases have a low CTR or aren’t changing, contemplate including them to your adverse key phrases listing.

The search phrases report can also be a good way to uncover long-tail key phrases you could goal to enhance your search engine optimization efforts.

Destructive key phrases to incorporate in your campaigns

Want some inspiration?

Right here’s an inventory of adverse key phrases damaged down into classes you’ll need to embrace in (virtually) each marketing campaign.


These kind of key phrases are usually utilized by these in search of jobs. Add these to your listing to exclude job seekers.

  • Profession
  • Employer
  • Rent
  • Internship
  • Interview
  • Job
  • Half-time
  • Recruiting
  • Resume
  • Wage
  • Staffing


Until you’re a faculty or a coaching firm, you’ll need to stop your adverts from exhibiting to folks looking for education-related key phrases.

  • Affiliation
  • Certification
  • Courses
  • School
  • Convention
  • Programs
  • Levels
  • Institute
  • Faculty
  • Seminar
  • Tutorial
  • College
  • Workshops


In the event you supply premium services or products, including these adverse key phrases will stop your adverts from showing to discount hunters.

  • Discount
  • Low-cost
  • Clearance
  • Low cost
  • Obtain
  • Free
  • Hack
  • Open-source
  • Pattern
  • Torrent


Folks looking for some of these key phrases are in search of particular info. They’re not essentially shopping for something.

  • Case research
  • Definition
  • DIY
  • Instance
  • Discussion board
  • Methods to
  • Information
  • Journal
  • Journal
  • Information
  • {Photograph}
  • Analysis
  • Specs
  • Statistics
  • White paper

This listing is on no account exhaustive, however it provides an awesome place to begin.

In fact, the adverse key phrases you add to your listing will rely upon issues like your advertising and marketing targets, the services or products you supply, and your trade.

Methods to add adverse key phrases in Google Advertisements

When you’ve created an inventory of adverse key phrases, it’s time so as to add them to your campaigns.

Comply with these steps to get began:

Step 1: Log in to your Google Advertisements account

Below the “Key phrase” heading on the left, click on “Destructive Key phrases,” and also you’ll see the next:

How to add negative keywords in Google Ads

Then click on the blue plus button.

Step 2: Add your adverse key phrases

You’ll be able to apply adverse key phrases to your campaigns or advert teams on the following display screen.

How to add your negative keywords list in Google Ads

As you add adverse key phrases to your campaigns or advert teams, make sure that you’re utilizing the proper match sort.

Right here’s a fast recap:

  • Destructive broad match: your adverse key phrase (no formatting)
  • Destructive phrase match: “your adverse key phrase” (quotes)
  • Destructive actual match: [your negative keyword] (brackets)

Click on the “Save to new or present listing” checkbox to save lots of your self the difficulty of manually including adverse key phrases for future campaigns.

Then click on “Save,” and also you’re good to go.

In the event you need assistance refining your key phrase listing or managing your campaigns, take a look at HOTH PPC.

Issues to bear in mind when utilizing adverse key phrases

Destructive key phrases can appear complicated when you’re utilizing them for the primary time.

Listed here are some issues to bear in mind as you begin utilizing them in your campaigns:

  • Don’t add too many adverse key phrases directly: The purpose of utilizing key phrases is to exclude your adverts from particular queries. However including too many directly can restrict your impressions and lead to much less visitors.
  • Double-check your adverse key phrases: It might sound apparent, however just be sure you’re not including adverse key phrases that you simply’re bidding on. Use the Negative Keyword Conflicts device to verify your key phrases.
  • Don’t make assumptions: Even when a key phrase doesn’t appear to be the proper match, it’s a good suggestion to run a cut up check — one advert with a adverse key phrase and one with out.
  • Use a adverse key phrase listing: Copying and pasting adverse key phrases to particular person campaigns is extraordinarily time-consuming. Save your self time by making use of a adverse key phrase listing to a number of campaigns.
  • Proceed to refine your adverse key phrase listing: Ensure that to revisit your listing frequently. Add new key phrases that you simply uncover and take away those who now not apply. You won’t supply sure merchandise now, however that might change sooner or later.


Discovering adverse key phrases on your campaigns is tedious work. But it surely positive beats reaching the incorrect folks and losing your advert spend.

Need assistance constructing a adverse key phrase listing or managing your PPC campaigns?

Schedule a name with considered one of our PPC consultants. It doesn’t matter what merchandise you supply or what trade you’re in, we might help configure your campaigns and discover methods to enhance your ROI.