Using Negative Keywords In AdWords

Google AdWords has a useful keyword tool called Negative Keywords, which give you the ability to tell Google not to show your ads when someone searches for such terms. This comes in handy when you want to advertise a product or service that has a similar name to something else. For example – if you would be advertising a keyword such as Acer Laptop with a match type of Broad, Google’s search algorithm may display your ad when a user searches for Laptop or Dell Laptop. While this may be a good idea in general, it may not make sense in terms of your ROI goals.

When & Why?

Here is an example of when you would want to use negative keywords:

If you advertise the keyword Apple iPhone as a Broad or Phrase Match term, your ad will show up when someone seaches for Repair Apple iPhone or Apple iPhone Cracked Screen. Now if you are only selling the product you don’t want to waste advertising dollars on keywords that will not drive buyers to your site. In order to stop this from happening you can add the following Negative keywords: Repair, Screen, Cracked etc… Now any time someone’s search query contains one of your negative terms, your ad will not be displayed.

Negative keywords also come in handy when you are advertising a product that has a name very similar to something else. Say you wanted to advertise the brand ThermaSol (manufacturer of steam/sauna generators), if you put a broad match term of ThermaSol your ad may be displayed when someone searches for completely irrelevant terms such as Thermisol (a vaccine). While this will bring extra visitors for your site it won’t help maximize your revenue, it will just cost you per click and bring visitors to your site that have no intention of purchasing a ThermaSol Steam Unit.

Negative Keywords & Match Types:

If you have a Broad Match term Robern Medicine Cabinet, and a Negative Broad Match term of Medicine Cabinet, they will cancel each other out and you ad will not be displayed. The same holds true if your Negative term is a Phrase Match, because the search term contains the exact Phrase. In this case you would want to put several variations of the Negative keyword as a Negative Exact by enclosing in in brackets (i.e. [Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinets], [Bathroom Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinet Mirror] etc…). While you do need to add more Negative keywords this way, you will reach a larger target audience and get more qualified traffic.

Bottom Line:

Use Negative keywords to properly filter the traffic that you are getting from your Broad Phrase Match terms. At the same time, it is imperative to remember to use Phrase and Exact Match terms when needed so as not to completely block your ad from showing to targeted visitors.

Image Credit: Ms. Danielle

Comments (1)

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    Molly Griffin:

    Great tips! Negative keywords can often be confusing. This will be helpful to share with our clients here at Dydacomp, especially since more and more are beginning to use the new small business Adwords!

    Thanks for this one.

    Molly Griffin

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