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Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

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# 1
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Why does Google not include plurals and close misspellings for negative  keywords?


I have the word "rifle" as a negative keyword. However, my ad was shown (and clicked) when  someone searched on "military rifles display". The ad would also show for  "military rifel  display". My broad match phrase here is "military display".

Google certainly knows how to display ads for synonyms and misspelled  keywords. I advertise for "rackmount" and get hits all the time for "rackmont". Google also will  display an ad based on an expanded synonym match such as an ad for "rackmount computer" showing  when the query was "rackmount pc"


I have "child" as a negative but an ad showed  for "kid" as in "kid friendly computer".


In the "military display" example, you can horribly misspell both words such as "miltry dsply" and the ad will still show.  This is potentially a good thing but I would expect the same level of technology for the negative list.  The appearance is that Google does everything possible to display an ad, even when that is not an appropriate ad to show. Displayed ads = clicks = revenue.  Unfortunately Wrong Displayed Ads = bad clicks = wasted advertising dollars to the people that pay the bills.


I can guarantee that if I advertised for "child", the ad would show when  someone searched on "kid".  So why doesn't this apply to negatives?


I've also never figured out why someone searching for "lipstick rack" would click on an ad for "rackmount computer".  Happened.  Ditto for "sheep sheering rack" and a host of other similar matches when I do not advertise for "rack".


Am I expected to go through my 4,000+ negative keyword list and expand that  to include all plurals, possible  misspellings and synonyms?

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

Zee Community Manager
Community Manager
# 2
Zee Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi David, 


When adding negative keywords, you need to ensure to add purals and misspellings. The easiest way to manage negative keywords is via AdWords Editor - a free tool that allows you to do multiple changes within your campaigns. 


Here is a link if you wish to leave a product feedback.



Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by Karl (Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆)
September 2015

Re: Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

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# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi davidlip,


In short if you want to ensure your ads are only showing up for appropriate searches then yes you'll have to put in the hard work. Fortunately there are tools that make generating lists like this a little easier.



One of the best tools in an AdWords experts tool belt is ASAP Utilities. Once installed, select the column with all of the keywords that you want to make into plurals. Under the ASAP Utilities ribbon in Excel select the 'Text' menu > 1. insert before and/or after each cell in your selection selection. This option will allow you to add "s" or "ing" etc to the words in your selection. You can find that tool here:


Misspellings / Typos

SEO Book has a Keyword Typo Generator. This tool allows you to take all of your negative keywords and create typo versions of them, make sure to select all the check boxes.



This is probably the most work intensive, basically the best way I've found, and there could be better ways, is to use the Google Keyword Tool 


By adding your negative keywords into the keyword tool you can create a much larger negative keyword list that will help you in the future. This is a very proactive approach to negative keyword development and I recommend doing it when you have the time.


A note about negatives, it's wise to mark your negative keywords as phrase match so that keyword looks like this: "negative keyword" the quotes tell Google AdWords that this type of keyword is a phrase match keyword.


If you need a quick recap of how match types work Google offers this up as an explanation:


Match types work on both the positive and negative side of things. I find that Google doesn't clearly explain how broad match works. Their example in the URL above for adopt kittens chicago on broad match could be matched to: tickets to cats chicago, cute kitten videos, pet friendly chicgao apartments. Broad match can look at each word independently in a keyword and start to match to other queries, which is why you're seeing lipstick rack matched to rackmount computers. The bigger problem is that you don't generally see what was searched when someone didn't click and this is why step 3, synonyms is so important. It's a lot of work but if done well can lead to a strong account.


There's an excellent article by Brad Geddes on the subject of how to manage match types here: Definitely worth reading.


Lastly, there's a popular negative keyword list you may have seen before that should be considered when reviewing your negatives. You can find that here:


Hope this helps, if it has follow me on twitter @iamstevetay as I post useful information like this all the time.






Re: Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

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# 4
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Hello Steve,


Thanks for the great advice.  I'll put some of it to use.


However, this still doesn't answer the basic question I asked.  Perhaps a Googler (Gooogler, Googeler, Googelr) can step up and explain this.


Why isn't the same technology applied to the negative keyword list as is applied to keywords showing ads?  That is, plurals and misspellings of negative keywords should trigger that negative keyword.  I don't want to advertise for "rifle".  Should I have to include "rifel", "rfle", "rfel" and the plurals of these permutations in my negative list?


I have to say it is virtually impossible to come up with and manage all possible misspellings.  If you type 'gooogle', 'googl', or 'googel' into the URL, all lead to Google.  People misstype words.  So as a positive keyword, Google will really try hard to show an ad. But if there is a word I don't want to advertise, I have to figure out every possible misspelling?

Re: Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Even though google CLEARLY knows what the users intends / means when they misspell a negative keyword and It's nearly impossible for you to come up with every possible misspelling formatting of these words, it's simply a big ripoff and how Google lines their pockets and earnings by robbing millions of small business and advertisers.

I know people who spend thousands on negative misspellings of keywords they are bending over backwards to try and avoid in their negative keywords list. These abuses all over the adwords system and I can't wait for the day a class action lawsuit is file to helps us get at least some of it back.

Re: Negative Keyword Plurals and Misspellings

Community Manager
# 6
Community Manager
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