May 31, 2022 Azka Munir

How to Use Negative Keywords for a Positive Impact?

It is a known fact that profitable keywords help to reach your target audience through SERPs and paid advertising. However, negative keywords also bring in audiences that are not looking for the products and services you offer. As important as it is to keep the important keywords, it is equally crucial to eliminate those having a negative impact.

This article discusses how you can weed out the negative keywords to bring a positive impact on your site. Keep reading below to learn more!


What is a Negative Keyword?

According to Google, a negative keyword is one that prevents your ad from showing or being triggered because of a certain phrase or words.

Hence, if someone searches for that particular phrase, they do not see your ad.

The other name for this is the negative match and you can implement it by adding certain words to your campaign or ad groups that Google Ads does not eventually show.

checking negative keywords

These help to weed out the audience members that are not interested in what you offer so that you can solely focus on the right leads.

This prevents you from wasting time and money on people that will eventually not buy from you.

The option of negative keywords is usually for Google Ads.

Hence, the audience does not see your search results in pay-per-click advertising.

Rather only those people see your ad that are actually interested in converting.

The key here is to know your target audience and keywords well.

This allows you to maximize CTR and conversions making online advertising profitable and efficient.

For instance, if you want to sell hiking equipment but do not want to appear in the results for “free hiking equipment” then you can simply weed out that keyword so that your website does not show in ads results when anyone searches for it free equipment.

You should try to be as specific as possible to avoid any negative keywords impacting your search results.

However, there are three main types.

match type

Negative Keywords Match Types

There are:

  • broad
  • exact
  • phrase

match types for the best fit of the keyword.

Broad Match

This prevents all the keywords from showing in search results in any order.

If you have a medium-tailed keyword such as running shoes, your ad may show if someone is searching for white shoes or running tools.

However, it will not show up when someone searches for white running shoes.

Thus, it will show for some words within the keyword but not for all words.

The broad match is usually a default feature in Google Ads Account.

Though if you choose these words then they can limit your reach even more than phrases or exact matches.

Therefore, it is important to first search all the variants that come with the keyword and to be sure that you need none of these to lead to your website.


As the name suggests, for negative matches of the exact keyword, only those keywords will not lead to your website that are exact matches for it.

This means that only “running shoes” will be excluded from the keywords that lead to your website.

Any other variation or addition to the keyword will still end up showing the website.

Since these are very specific, you will get the exact audience you need.

negative keyword types


Phrase matches include additional keywords that are before or after your targeted negative keyword.

The keyword should be in the same order to not appear in the search results.

However, the search result will show up for phrases that are not in the exact order.

For instance, “free white running shoes” or “buying running shoes near me” will not appear if your negative keyword is running shoes.

It may still show your website for running gear.

This narrows the audience while not excessively limiting it.



While choosing to apply negative keywords, it is important to maintain a balance.

As it has its benefits, blocking several keywords will extremely narrow down your reach.

Whereas choosing an appropriate number can also save you money by only reaching the target audience.


Make Relevant Ad GroupsThe relevance of your ad group tightens as you eliminate the keywords you do not require.

Having closely related and small ad groups allows for conveying a single message that is relevant to the keywords you are targeting.

Increasing Conversion Rates

Your conversion rates will increase when the ads will not show for the particular terms that you don’t want them to appear.

Hence, the audience that wants exactly what you are offering is more likely to convert.

Plus, this way you are also able to avoid the keywords with the names of the competitors and those that do not have any commercial intent.

Therefore, your target audience will find you when they search for the required term.

Improving CTR

The audience that sees your search results is also interested in the products.

Thus, the ads do not get exposure to irrelevant queries and uninterested impressions.

Hence, this gives you more impressions and increases the click-through rate.

The percentage of people who will likely click on your ad will increase.

Save Money

Google Ads costs money.

Hence, by saving on useless clicks that do not even bring you enough conversions.

Thus any audience member or searcher that does not want your product but clicks on your link costs you money.

Weeding them out means that you can reach people that will be profitable.

It avoids costing you money that you do not need to spend on people who won’t avail any of your services or buy your products.

It also helps to prevent and avoid cannibalizing impressions.

Moreover, you can avoid bidding against yourself and further water down your keyword-level data.

Improve Quality Prospects

Adding negative keywords improves the quality of the leads that show up.

Hence, its benefit is not only in reducing the unqualified leads in your campaign but also in providing you with good ones.

So now let’s figure out how you can find these keywords to add to your account.


Finding Negative Keywords

There are several resources especially related to Google such as Keyword Planner and Search that can give you an idea about the negative keywords.

Hence, you can make a list of these broad, phrase or exact match keywords and then avoid your website from showing when they are searched.

adding negative keywords


Use Google Search

Make a quick search of the keywords that you intend to advertise.

While using Google Search you will see other LSI keywords.

These are the search terms related to your keyword.

Anyone searching your keyword is likely to search these as well.

For instance, if you are hoping to sell authentic, branded running shoes then you may not want to include search terms like running gear or used running shoes, cheap running shoes in your search results.

The terms used and cheap will be negative keywords that you would want to add to a list that applies across your entire campaign.

Keyword Research

Doing keyword research is an important part before you start paid advertising SEO.

Though, during that time, you are not only choosing the keywords you want your site to show but also eliminating those that you do not want.

So conduct research for the keywords your target audience is most likely to search and also forego.

For instance, let’s take running shoes again.

If keyword research shows the aggregate number of monthly searches for high heel shoes and wedges then you may want to keep the audience seeking these out of your list.

Google Search Term Reports

These show the clicks, CTR, cost-per-click and impressions for search queries.

You can analyze what search terms will show your ad and look into the mindset of the audience.

This way you can filter out keywords and keep those that bring the relevant audience to your website.

adding to google ads account

Adding List to Google Ads Account

Once you have the list of the negative keywords you can group them accordingly.

These include:

  • generic negative keywords
  • wrong business fit
  • competitors

or any other group you want to put them in.

Add these to the Goggle Ads account in the negative keywords section under the Keywords section on the left panel.

Keep adding the keywords using the + button and insert them in a campaign or ad group level.

Try to first go for generic negative keywords that can apply across campaigns.

Moreover, you can add brand names to the list so that your ad does not appear in competition with brands the users may want to click.

Once you have your list, a more targeted audience will reach your website through ads.

Last Thoughts

Negative keywords are a crucial part of increasing your website’s reach to the targeted audience.

In pay-per-click advertising, reduces unqualified leads, saves expenditure, improves your return on investment and optimizes the results.

It helps to narrow down the pool of available searches while also improving the leads and the quality of prospects.

Therefore, resulting in more impressions, CTR and finally saving costs.

This is how using negative keywords can result in an overall positive impact on your business.

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