7 Tips for Negative Keywords in Google Ads

1. Pay attention to match types

Match types for negative keywords don’t work exactly the same way as they do for positive keywords. Let’s check them out:

  • broad is actually a kind of broad modified
  • exact really means exact – no close variants here
  • phrase – the order of the words really counts, and again no close variants

2. Don’t forget singulars and plurals

Don’t forget to add both plural and singular versions of the words you want to negativize, as well as popular misspellings.

For example, if you have “account” in your negative list but you don’t have “accounts” you’re ad will be still showing for searches containing the word “accounts”.

3. Negativization level counts

Negativization can be done at different levels: account level, campaign level and ad group level. So, thinks carefully where you want to add the negative keywords. Some tips:

  • account level – ideal to ban undesired traffic from the whole account
  • campaign level – ideal to constraint traffic to certain campaigns
  • ad group level – perfect to have a proper traffic allocation between ad groups if have them split per match type for example

4. Thinks about the search term report as a gold mine

The search term report if full of resources, although is very hard to check it out on a daily basis, I strongly recommend checking search terms at least once a month for two purposes: find new keywords, find new negative keywords.

5. Negative keywords conflicts matter, check them

Imagine we have now a new product to promote that we didn’t use to have, it’s probably added as negative, so we need to update the negative list.

6. Pausing is not enough

If an exact keyword doesn’t work your job doesn’t stop at pausing it, best practice would be to add the keyword as negative to avoid keeping getting traffic from it.

7. Remember the 10 words rule

Negative keywords are just applied to the first 10 words of the search term if your negative keyword is the 11th then the query can trigger your add.

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