I am getting a lot of keyword hits that are totally off topic. When I try to add those as "negative keywords" I get a message that says tht "keyword search can not contain more than 10 words". However, none of the matched searches I am adding contain more than 10 words. I don't see how to see a list of all negative keywords, so I can't tell if anything I am trying to add to the list is actually getting successfully added.
Basically, this is not really working for me, and I am winding up paying for search matches that are totally irrelevant.
Re: negative keywords
Hi judy511, it certainly sounds like Adwords thinks the negative keywords you've added are all in one long line, i.e. you want to add shoes, ties and hats as individual negative keywords and Google thinks you're adding "shoes ties hats" as one term.
You should be able to see your negative keywords by navigating to the Keywords tab of your campaign(s). Scroll down the page to the bottom of your positive keywords and you should see a link labelled Negative Keywords. Click this and your current negative keywords (if any have worked) will be shown in the list.
Negative keywords do work - we all use them all the time - so it's almost certainly some procedural issue with how you're adding them in that's causing the problem.
I would just add that while negatives are great, I personally prefer to try and use more tightly focused positives as a solution for irrelevant matches. Using negatives can require a very large number of such keywords to capture all possible irrelevant terms and even then you probably won't get them all. You may also end up restricting valid matches when the negative keyword list becomes long and difficult to manage. Using tighter match positives (e.g. phrase/exact matches) can dramatically reduce the irrelevant searches without using any negatives at all. Exact matches, of course, will only match on the exact term you've entered so in theory there should never be any need for negatives when using only exact matches.
Don't forget also the difference between campaign and group level negatives, or that there are options to control how tightly Google triggers against your keywords (close matches, etc.).