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Add negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing on irrelevant searches.




 Cara Whitehouse        Paul Jackson        Darren Warwick           Adrian Bold


Overview of negative keywords


AdWords is all about choosing which keywords you want your ads to show for, right? Well, yes - that covers a lot of it. But don’t forget about negative keywords at your peril. And budget.


Negative keywords are words or phrases that will stop your ads showing for irrelevant search queries. For example, if you sell high end bespoke furniture, you don’t people looking for cheap products clicking on your ads. Likewise, if are trying to sell catering services, you don’t want job hunters wasting your clicks.


How do I/my clients use negative keywords to prevent ads from showing on irrelevant searches?


We use Google’s keyword planner to identify not only which keywords are relevant to a client, but also those which are irrlevant. These can then be added as negative keywords from the start of the campaign in order to prevent wasted spend from the outset. Ubersuggest is another great tool to help you identify negative keywords. Additionally, you can type some of your keywords into the Google search bar to see what ‘autocomplete’ suggests, and when you campaign is as tight as you can get it, set it live and continuously conduct Search Query Analysis to add new negative keywords.


Bear in mind too the geo-targeting of your campaign - ensure that anywhere outside of your relevant area, is included in a location specific keyword list in the shared library.


Why do I think negative keywords can be helpful?


There are a range of instances where negative keywords can be helpful:


  • Geo-targeting

  • Prevent budget waste (so there’s more budget to spend on relevant and high performing keywords)

  • Prevent impressions waste (to improve CTR and QS)

  • Prevent showing for irrelevant search queries

  • Prevent showing to unqualified/non-purchase ready searchers


How did adding negative keywords help me/my client be more successful with AdWords?


Without negative keywords a campaign is really half optimized.


Adrian Bold: “One of our clients, a London based catering company, was able to reach more of their target market within London by cutting out wasted clicks and budget from location searches that were outside of their target market. As a consequence, their conversion rate grew by 58.8% and their cost per conversion was reduced dramatically.”


Cara Whitehouse:  “Simply by using negative keywords such as “Cheap”, “Jobs”, “Free” and “Advice”, we’ve been able to make sure that people clicking on our clients’ ads are relevant and that wastage has been cut out.”


Paul Jackson: “Negative keywords are invaluable. It should be part of your regular optimization process in order to ensure your campaigns are performing at their maximum potential.”



prabhat p
July 2014

adding negative keywords is best solution to improve your CTR, increase QS & better ROI