Why You Should Be Negative (Sometimes)

Our last blog post covered match types and touched on the significance of negative keywords to your overall strategy. Negative keywords can be, when used correctly, some of the most powerful tools in the paid search marketer’s toolbox. Google (and Bing as well!) allows for the use of these important keyword match types – using them can help you keep your costs down and your return on investment up. Here’s where you can find your negative keywords…

What are Negative Keywords?

Popular negative keywords include terms like:

  • Free
  • Samples
  • Discount
  • How to Make
  • Do it Yourself “DIY”
  • Hiring
  • Employment
  • Salary
  • Internship
  • Career
  • Cheap

There are also plenty of general negative keyword lists floating around online that can be helpful when you’re considering what to add to your own campaigns. For your negative keyword list, you’ll want to compile a group of words that might populate your ad but will not lead to a conversion – whether it’s because the query is research based or irrelevant. Why spend your paid search budget on clicks that probably won’t lead to a sale?

Negative Keywords in AdWords

A good place to start when figuring out your negative keywords for your AdWords campaigns is within your actual AdWords account. Generate a search terms report to see what queries triggered your existing ads. You’ll easily be able to pick out which ones are irrelevant or research-based and add them to your negative keyword lists. Do this on a regular basis to ensure you are receiving relevant clicks.

Campaigns and Ad Groups

Consider how you might use negative keywords on the below levels:


Campaign Level

Anything irrelevant to your business

Anything research-based

Ad Group Level

What your ad group ISN’T selling

Keywords in other thematically related ad groups (don’t compete against yourself)

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