Negative keywords in Google Ads are words or phrases that you can specify to prevent your ads from being displayed when those words or phrases are part of a user’s search query. They help you refine your ad targeting and ensure that your ads are shown to the most relevant audience. By using them, you can reduce wasted ad spend and improve the overall quality of your traffic.

When to Use Negative Keywords

All the time! You should use negatives at both campaign and ad group level on every account. Simply put, doing so will ensure you aren’t matching to irrelevant search queries.
For example, if you run a high-end fashion boutique that sells designer clothing, and you don’t offer discounted or second-hand items. You can add negative keywords like “vintage clothing” “second hand” and “discount fashion” If someone searches for “cheap vintage clothing,” your ad won’t appear, preventing you from paying for a click from someone looking for a different type of store.

Negative Keyword Levels

Campaign-Level: Add negative keywords at the campaign level for terms you don’t want your campaign’s ads to show for. For instance, excluding brand-related keywords from your generic campaigns.

Ad Group-Level: Implement negative keywords at the ad group level to direct searchers to the specific ad group of your campaign that are most relevant to their queries.

Shared Library: Make use of the negative keyword list feature in the shared library to apply a common list of negative keywords across multiple campaigns.

Adding Individual Negative Keywords

  1. Navigate to keywords
  2. Under “Keywords,” select “Negative.”
  3. Click on the “Add negative keyword” option and choose whether you want to add it as an Ad group negative keyword or a Campaign negative keyword.
  4. When pasting your negative keyword, ensure the correct match type notation is included – for example [exact] “phrase” or broad.
  5. Specify the destination for the new negative keyword and confirm.

Adding Multiple Negative Keywords in Google Ads Editor

  1. Select Campaign: Choose the campaign you want to add bulk negative keywords to. Go to “Keywords & Targeting” > “Keywords, Negative” and click “Make Multiple Changes.”
  2. Data Sheet Setup: If you have a bulk upload sheet with negative keyword details, select “My data includes columns for campaigns and/or ad groups.” Ensure you assign match types to your negative keywords, otherwise they’ll be added as broad match by default.
  3. Specify Destinations: If adding at the campaign level, include columns for “Campaigns” and “Keyword” in your data. If allocating to ad groups, add a second column for the ad group. For smaller or simpler uploads you can also select destinations manually.
  4. Copy and Paste: Copy data from your bulk upload sheet. Use the “Bulk Change Action” to “Add or Replace” the negative keywords. Choose the column name and click “Process.”
  5. Review and Confirm: A window will summarise the action. If needed, click “Revert and Cancel” to make changes to your upload or “Finish and Review Changes” to proceed.
  6. Final Review: Review the changes, and when satisfied, click “Keep” or “Reject” then post the changes to Google Ads

How Negative Keywords Can Improve PPC Performance

  • Preventing Irrelevant Clicks: This can help you avoid clicks from users who are looking for other products or services and are unlikely to convert or engage with your website.
  • Improving Relevance: By excluding irrelevant keywords, you can focus your ad campaigns on users who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. This can result in a higher click-through rate (CTR) and better conversion rates.
  • Reducing Costs: Excluding keywords that are not relevant to your business can save you money by reducing the number of clicks from users who aren’t interested in what you offer.

Continuous Management: Reviewing and Updating Your Negative Keyword List

It’s essential to regularly review and update your negative keyword list as your campaigns evolve and new search terms emerge. By doing so, you can continually optimise your ad spend and improve the quality of traffic to your website.

Need support in managing more effective Google Ads campaigns? Our team is here to help.