Negative keywords are so important in managing your advertising campaigns. Don’t overlook this simple solution to optimizing and using this strategy.
Using negative keywords is a powerful way to let Google know which phrases you don’t want your ads to appear for. This strategy can save you lots of money by deciding which clicks you don’t want to pay for.
So What Are Negative Keywords?
You use keywords to trigger your ad when someone is searching for something specific.
But negative keywords are used so that if someone is searching for a specific phrase that contains your negative keyword, your ad won’t be shown to them 😀
For example, if you use the word ‘free’ as a negative keyword in your ad campaign, your ad will not show up for any search containing the word ‘free’. If you’re not giving anything away for free, adding this as a negative keyword will help your customers not land on your page and wonder where’s the free stuff!
So simple, right?
How Do They work?
You create a highly targeted campaign by choosing keywords not to target. You still use your keywords but choosing words for what not to target, hits your target even more specifically.
Search for keywords similar to your keywords. Find the terms that are for a totally different product than yours and use those keywords. For example, if you are a business who sells eyeglasses 👓 your negative keywords would be terms like ‘wine glasses’ and ‘drinking glasses’.
If you’re using Display or Video campaigns, negative keywords can help you avoid targeting unrelated sites or videos.
If you filter searches with your negative keywords and maintain click volume, you’ll see your CTR improve. But sometimes you have to be very careful and watchful. A newly added negative keyword can cause your campaign impressions and clicks to drop suddenly. It means it filtered out too much traffic 😓
So it’s really important to understand keyword match types and how they work. Different match types with negative keywords will apply an even stronger filter so your customers reach your products and not everyone else’s.
Types Of Negative Keywords
You can use broad match, phrase match or exact match negative keywords for your campaigns. These negative match keywords work a bit differently than their positive counterparts.
Here’s the shorthand that tells Google the negative keywords you don’t want your ad shown for.
- [brackets] represent a keyword in exact match
- “quotations” represent a keyword in phrase match
- +pluses +represent a keyword in modified broad match
- no notation at all indicates standard broad match
- -minus -symbol before a keyword indicates a negative keyword
Let me show you how each type works!
Negative Broad Match
This is how Googles explains a negative broad-matched keyword – “a keyword setting that allows you to exclude your ad for searches where every word, in any order, of your keyword phrase appears in the search.”
When you use a negative broad match, it means your ad will not show anytime the entire term is used in a search query.
If you’re running an ad and the negative keywords are ‘winter coats’ ⛄ your ad won’t appear for someone searching for ‘coats for winter’ or ‘winter coats deals’.
But this will not prevent ads from showing variations of the negative keywords. So you should use ‘winter coats’ and ‘winter coat’. You’ll have to add in the singular and the plural form of your keywords.
It’s important to note the Negative Broad match keywords will not prevent your ad from showing if someone sent a query for just one of your words, like ‘coats’. Because ‘coats’ all by itself isn’t a negative keyword, someone’s search for ‘spring coats’ will see your ad.
Negative Phrase Match
When you use a negative phrase-match keyword, it allows you to exclude your ad for searches that include the exact keyword phrase.
That means searches that have your exact phrase plus a few extra words, the ad won’t show up. But this will only happen if the keyword phrase in the search are in the exact same order of your keywords.
If someone searches for only one of the terms in your selected phrase, your ad will still appear. And if additional words are used in the search query, the ad will still appear. For example, ‘luxury and exclusive hotels’ will show up because ‘luxury’ and ‘exclusive’ and not right beside each other. That example applies if your negative keywords are ‘luxury hotels’ 🏩
Negative Exact Match
The exact-match keyword allows you to exclude your ad for searches of the exact keyword phrase. But it will still show for searches that include the keyword phrase with additional words.
You have to put these brackets  around the keywords to work.
Your ad will still show if your negative keywords, for example, are ‘orange socks’, and someone types in ‘fuzzy orange socks’ 🧦
Why Should You Use Negative Keywords?
You will definitely save money if you use negative keywords and get rid of irrelevant keywords. Build up a huge list of keywords to really make a difference in your click-through rates and lower your ad spend. You’ll also start to notice higher conversions.
If you want better customer targeting and increased accuracy, use negative keywords.
You’ll save tons of time if you make a huge list of negative keywords and tell Google what you don’t want your ads to show for instead of listing every exact and unique keyword phrase you want to be shown for.
You should take great care to build your negative keyword list. Negative keyword lists are continuously expanding and are being refined based on real data by Google. But even though Google sifts through millions of ads to serve the right ad to the person searching, there is so much incentive for mistakes and for stretching the relevance. Keep tabs on your negative keywords and prevent any mistakes!
Always go over your negative keyword list. As your business changes your keywords might change too. The popularity of certain keywords may change also 📜 Update your negative terms because it’s possible that at one time it made sense to exclude them, but now they may be relevant.
You want to create ads that are as relevant to the searcher as possible. Using keywords and negative keywords will help people find your products much faster.
What you’re aiming for is a higher quality of clicks and leads and CTR. An effective negative keyword strategy can help to convert more customers 👙👗👖 for your business.
Don’t overlook using negative keywords. They can help send the right traffic to your site depending on your campaign goals. Sometimes even if you worked really hard and covered all the bases, you may start to see irrelevant searches that your ads have matched.
Don’t be discouraged by it! This is very common. Just react to those irrelevant searches by adding new negative keywords. Always think about the intent of people searching for your products. You should be able to find negative keywords that aren’t relevant.
Now you know how beneficial negative keywords can be for your ad campaigns. Time to go and make your own! 😄