Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Have you ever searched a particular question in Google and received results that had nothing to do with it?This situation arises when negative keywords are not used in Google ad campaigns.

Negative keywords help your ads reach the right people at the right time. 

If you don’t include negative keywords in your campaign, people who aren’t interested in your ads will visit it, wasting money invested in the ad.

To help you address this issue and improve your marketing strategy, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular and commonly used negative keywords.

[lwptoc]

What is a Negative Keyword?

Negative keywords are words or phrases that stop your ads from appearing in unrelated searches to the services or products you offer.

It helps your ads to reach a wider potential audience, increasing the chances of conversion and ensuring that the money spent on the ad is not wasted.

For example, let’s say you own a digital marketing institute that offers paid offline courses. If you’re running an ad for this institute, you should include the negative keywords “free” and “online” in your campaign.

So when next time someone searches for phrases like a ‘free digital marketing course’ or an ‘online digital marketing course’, your ad will not appear. By adding negative keywords to the campaign, our ad will not appear for irrelevant queries, enabling us to control our budget and avoid unnecessary spending.

In brief, if negative keywords aren’t included in your PPC campaign, you waste your paid clicks.

The Benefits of Using Negative Keywords in Your PPC Campaign

  • Enhance your click-through rate

Negative keywords ensure that your ads are only seen in response to queries relevant to your business. In other words, it exposes your ads to more relevant impressions, resulting in fewer wasted clicks and a higher return on investment  (ROI).

  • Boost the conversion rate

We know that our ad will appear in searches related to our industry by using negative keywords. As a result, it helps to generate more high-quality leads for your website, or your ad will be displayed to those with a greater possibility of conversion.

  • Save the money spent on ads

Negative keywords aid your ads in attracting potential customers who are genuinely interested in your products. Suppose someone who isn’t interested in your product clicks on your ad; you have to pay for that click unnecessarily. By adding negative keywords to your Google ads campaign, only potential prospects will view your ad campaign, which will help you save money.

Types of negative keywords

Negative keyword match types are divided into three categories:

Broad Match

A negative broad match allows you to prevent your ad from appearing if your search query contains all words in the negative keyword word in any order. 

Consider the term auto insurance as our broad match negative keyword.

The ad will not be displayed for the queries like “insurance for auto,” auto insurance,” “auto insurance coverage,” etc. In brief, if all of the terms in the negative keywords appear in any order in your query, the ad will not be displayed. 

Broad Match Negative Keyword: Auto Insurance

Search Query Will the ad be displayed?
car insurance company Yes
insurance for auto No
auto insurance No
automobile insurances Yes
auto insurance coverage No

Phrase Match

It will prohibit your ad from appearing in the query containing the exact phrase you’ve provided or if the query has every word in the identical sequence as indicated in the phrase match. Here you can also add words before or after the phrase.

Let “auto insurance” be the negative phrase match keyword here. The ad will not be displayed for queries like “auto insurance” and “auto insurance coverage.” But if your search query is “insurance for auto,” the ad will appear. In short, if all the terms in your search query are in the same order as the broad match negative keyword provided, the ad will not appear.

Phrase Match Negative keyword: “Auto Insurance”
Search Query Will the ad be displayed?
car insurance company Yes
insurance for auto Yes
auto insurance No
automobile insurances Yes
auto insurance coverage No

Exact Match

Adding an exact negative keyword to your PPC campaign prevents your ad from appearing for searches that contain exact words in the same order as described in the keyword phrase without any additional terms.

Look at the table below to learn more about exact match negative keywords. Here also consider the keyword [auto insurance]  as the exact match negative keyword.

Exact  Match Negative Keyword: [auto insurance]
Search Query Will the ad be displayed?
car insurance company Yes
insurance for auto Yes
auto insurance No
automobile insurances Yes
auto insurance coverage Yes

 

How to identify Negative Keywords?

We know that including negative keywords in the Google ads campaign will help us avoid extra costs associated with unwanted clicks and keep our digital marketing budget under control. But how to find out effective negative keywords?

Generally, we can find negative keywords in 3 ways:

  • Manual searching
  • Google Suggest
  • Google Ads Search Terms Report

Manual searching

First, conduct a Google search with a core keyword related to your product and service. Both paid and organic results will be available in the SERP.

We can generate a list of negative keywords by looking at the SERP results and determining which terms are irrelevant to our service.

For example, let’s Google search for the term “restaurants in Ontario.”

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Imagine that you run a vegan sushi restaurant in Ontario.

As you can see, the first result in the SERP is “Fish N Tails Oyster Bar,” which is a seafood restaurant. So as you own a vegan sushi restaurant, “seafood restaurant” will be one of your negative keywords. 

The second one, “The Blackstone district- family-friendly dining,” offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. So from here, you get a new negative keyword, “Non-veg restaurant.”

“The Prescott – Italian Restaurant” is the third SERP result. You can add the term “Italian Restaurant” to your negative keyword list.

In the same way, you can look at the organic results in the SERP and find negative keywords.

Google Suggest

You might have noticed that when we search for something on Google, it suggests topics related to our query. From these Google suggestions also, we can discover the potential negative keywords. For instance, consider the screenshot below,

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

As a vegan sushi restaurant owner, terms like ‘covid’, ‘restrictions’, etc., will go to your list of negative keywords.

Google Ads Search Terms Report

The Google Ads Search Terms Report will help you discover the words/phrases people enter in Google to see your ad or visit your website. By thoroughly examining each term in the search terms report or search query report, we can identify non-performing or irrelevant terms associated with our business.

How to add the list of negative keywords to our Google ads campaign?

By now, we know how to create a list of negative keywords. To add these words into Google ads campaign, consider the following steps,

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account. 
  2. Now choose “Keywords” from the menu on the left side.
  3. Then select “Negative keywords” from the drop-down menu and click the + sign button. Finally, you can add the negative keywords and click the save button.

 

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

 

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

You can add either a new negative keyword list or an existing negative keyword list to your campaigns or ad groups.

Why should we include negative keywords in Google ads?

If you are using Google Ads to promote a small to medium business, then every penny counts, so it is important to ensure that your ad groups are as focused as possible. Using negative keywords to qualify your campaign can make the difference between attracting someone who is looking to buy your product and someone who is looking for a job!

If you are a local business and want to make sure that you are paying for the right type of clicks in your Google Ads or PPC marketing campaigns, then consider using one of the negative keyword lists that I’ve provided below.

Note: Some negative keywords provided may not be relevant to your campaigns, so be sure to use your discretion when adding any of them to Google Ads.

Negative Keywords That (Almost) Every Google Ads Campaign Should Include

This is a list of keywords used at our internet marketing agency. They simply don’t belong in any campaign and should be added by default to all of your campaigns:

  • free
  • cheap
  • nude
  • naked
  • sex
  • porn
  • porno
  • torrent
  • torrents
  • youtube
  • craigslist
  • ebay
  • Kijiji
  • Comparison
  • What
  • Boss
  • Define
  • pics

Employment Search Negative Keywords

These are searches that someone looking for a job would typically include in any search query. By adding these negative keywords, you can eliminate job seekers from finding (and clicking) your Google ads:

  • hire
  • hiring
  • employment
  • employer
  • employers
  • job
  • jobs
  • occupation
  • occupations
  • career
  • careers
  • occupation
  • occupations
  • full time
  • part time
  • work
  • resume
  • resumes
  • salary
  • salaries
  • pay
  • intern
  • recruiter
  • recruiters
  • recruitment
  • resume
  • resumes

Education Search Negative Keywords

These keywords would typically be included in a search query by someone looking to upgrade their skills i.e. not to buy your product and/or service:

  • training
  • learn
  • class
  • classes
  • school
  • schools
  • college
  • university
  • tutorial
  • tutorials
  • course
  • courses
  • textbook
  • textbooks
  • book
  • Books

Legal Negative Keywords

If you’re running a Google ads campaign for a legal professional or a law firm, here’s a set of negative keywords to target your audience:

  • Sex
  • “nursing home”        
  • Temple
  • Apps
  • “no fee”
  • Education
  • Example
  • Fax
  • Music
  • Dentist
  • Dental
  • Salary
  • Interview
  • Cheating
  • college

Health & Medical Negative Keywords

The majority of people go online to discover solutions to their health-related issues. As a result, negative keywords will be incredibly advantageous to digital marketers in the healthcare industry. The following is the list of negative keywords related to the healthcare industry:

  • Sex
  • Teacher
  • Jobs
  • Exam
  • Work
  • Training
  • Stores
  • Recruitment
  • Vacancy
  • Shoes
  • Comparison
  • Bad
  • Schooling
  • Cancellation
  • side effect
  • College
  • job

Advertising & Media Negative Keywords

Are you looking for negative keywords related to advertising /media? Then take a look at the negative keywords related to advertising /media listed below:

  • Test
  • Cheat
  • Family
  • Resumes
  • Builder
  • Cleaning
  • Education
  • Developer
  • Banking
  • Sex
  • College
  • Cheat
  • Fraud
  • cheap

Insurance-related Negative Keywords

Today’s market offers a wide range of insurance products such as life insurance, health insurance, and pet insurance. As a result, it’s critical to include negative keywords in your PPC campaign. Here’s a list of insurance-related negative keywords for your Google Ads.

  • Reporter
  • Jury
  • “job search”
  • “sexual abuse”
  • Expensive
  • Movie
  • Hotel
  • Comparison
  • Job
  • Program
  • News
  • Music
  • Apps
  • Magazine
  • Food
  • College
  • Fraud
  • “bad insurance”
  • jobs

DIY Negative Keywords

Many people enjoy doing things on their own or gathering information to take on a task on their own. If your industry doesn’t cater to these things, it’s advisable to filter out this audience. Negative keywords related to DIY or Do-it-yourself are listed below:

  • Sad
  • Sex
  • Cheat
  • comparison

Research & Information Search Negative Keywords

This list is essential for anyone with an eCommerce website. Reduce the number of window shoppers and tire kickers who click on your ads by adding these negative keywords:

  • review
  • reviews
  • rating
  • ratings
  • opinion
  • opinions
  • article
  • articles
  • information
  • info
  • pics
  • picture
  • pictures
  • photo
  • photos
  • how to
  • how do I

Conclusion

After spending hours crafting an effective Google Ads campaign, it can be easy to forget about adding negative keywords to that shiny new campaign. By forgetting to add them, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars per month in unqualified leads to your business. Bookmark this article and make adding these commonly used keywords a part of your Google Ads campaign creation workflow!

Still have questions about how to use Google Ads for your business? Feel free to contact us! We’ll work with you to take your business to the next level!

FAQ’s

  • Is using negative keywords beneficial?

Negative keywords ensure that your ads are only seen in response to searches that are relevant to your business. Thus, it aids in the reduction of unwanted clicks and boosts CTR.

  • Should I incorporate negative keywords at the ad group or campaign level?

Adding a negative keyword at the campaign level applies the negatives to all ad groups within the campaign. If the negative is specific within an ad group, we could use it at the ad group level.

  • Is it necessary to add the match types to negative keywords?

Google ad specialists always recommend adding match types to negative keywords. Because by selecting the suitable match types, we can target the right audience. If inappropriate match types are preferred, your ads will appear for irrelevant search results.

Post By Aswathy Narayanan (13 Posts)

Aswathy works as a social media analyst at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Canada. She has a keen interest in researching the latest social media trends. You can find her reading books and dancing after work hours.

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74 Comments

  • avatar

    I was surfing the Internet for information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.

  • avatar

    Great Blog , and good job.

  • avatar

    Awesome list, another keyword that we like for negative is “how to”

  • avatar

    […] you have a hard time thinking of negative keywords, you can start by uploading this list of most commonly excluded keywords in your Google Ads. These keywords should not belong to any of your PPC campaigns when you are running any ads (unless […]

  • avatar

    Nice nice list ! thanks a lot !

  • avatar

    I love this article! It never occurred to me to include in my negative keywords employment terms. Super helpful.

  • avatar

    Hi there. Great list! I would like to mention though that you should be careful when recommending the words “hire” or “hiring”. Note that many contractors are “hired” and subsequently see traffic and conversions through such terms as “hire” and “hiring a”.

  • avatar

    Thank you for sharing the kind of list of nagative keywords which help us to better control our ad spend.

  • avatar

    I had a list of over 150 negative keywords from years ago for my online computer repair service, but it’s nowhere to be found. I could brainstorm a few but this list definitely helped come up with a lot of them I’ve forgotten. Thank you so much!

  • avatar

    I was wondering in addition to what negative key words to add to my campaign. Thanks so much for sharing this useful information, I will use this list as a reference to use.

  • avatar

    Thank you for this great tool i used it

  • avatar

    Exactly i am looking for, thanks for sharing

  • avatar

    That’ pretty handy. Thanks you for sharing nice list of negative keywords. That will definitely save the money!

  • avatar
    Damien Bryony 

    on 

    Great Article. I just started up using advertising for my sites and this article gave me some insight into how to manage negative keywords. Thanks for the article and I will be checking out more of your advice.

  • avatar

    Every single one of those words were profitable in the search term report in every single one of my accounts, except for porno and torrent (which had no search terms).
    Here are some of the negatives in my accounts that do save me money:
    dangerous
    deadly
    disgusting
    doping
    threatening
    threats
    incest
    overdose
    rotten
    appaling
    warning
    illegal
    drugs

  • avatar

    Thank you so much. This is great info!

  • avatar

    Very useful, thanks!

  • avatar

    Awesome article just what I was looking for!. Creating the negative keywords on my AdWords NOW! Thanks!

  • avatar

    Great list! Very helpful being able to compare and collaborate with another keyword list!

  • avatar

    thanks I got what I really needed, Again Thanks

  • avatar

    Such a Great List! I am recently made a campaign on “logo Design Service” in united states and get very bad search term. This list is exactly what i am looking for thank you!

  • avatar

    WOW this article adds tons and tons of value to everyone for free! Thank you! Subscribing now!

  • avatar

    Really Awesome List of Negative Keywords, Good Work.
    Thanks. Keep it up.

  • avatar

    Thanks for this!

  • avatar

    Thanks for sharing your this awesome list to help.

  • avatar

    Thanks for sharing list of negative keywords. I have updated my list. Thanks again.

  • avatar

    This is one if the best negative keywords list that must be added into AdWords campaign. Negative keywords improve Quality Score, Click-Through Rate(CTR) and Conversion Rate. Its very appreciable that you have jotted down industry wise negative keywords, very helpful for the beginners

  • avatar

    Thank You… Your post is most helpful

  • avatar

    Great list of negative keywords! I definitely will be adding these to my default list! Thanks for posting this, very much appreciated!

  • avatar

    Very helpful! Thank you for taking the time!

  • avatar

    Thanks a lot! Just added this to my routine campaign builds

  • avatar
    titusville website marketing 

    on 

    this list helped me hone in on the keywords that are actually converting. thank you

  • avatar

    Exactly what I needed. Thanks guys!

  • avatar

    Pretty awesome list. Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar

    Nice list… Thanks for sharing!

  • avatar

    Killer default list especially for local SMBs. Thanks Darian bookmarked for future reference.

  • avatar
    Collected Goods 

    on 

    Thanks for tips, very helpful for those of us who are new to SEO and PPC. Really helped out with my Ad Words and keywords setup for my webstore

  • avatar

    Darian, This is a great list of words, consider adding to the negative keyword list to save money. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • avatar

    Amazing!!
    THANKS!

  • avatar

    That’s great. i am looking for negative keywords list and i found this blog. Actually i am looking for health related negative keywords and you blog give me awesome idea to find this type of keywords. Thanks @DarianSchouten to save my money from invalid clicks.

  • avatar

    Great stuff TechWyse.

  • avatar
    John Divramis 

    on 

    l never thought that negative keywords would so many, l think there are a lot more Darian that we will discover later on, on the campaign.

  • avatar
    Kurt Knuckle 

    on 

    you should make this a downloadable csv file so people can copy paste and modify.. it’s a pain in the butt as is, try it..
    Great article – thanks for the useful list.

  • avatar

    For us one of the most converting keyword is ‘cheap’, so I wouldn’t recommend to add ‘cheap’ and ‘free’ by default to your negative list.
    I’ve seen many other campaigns as well and if you sell high-end products adding ‘cheap’ to the negative list is a good idea, but if you offer a service in a competitive price, well I recommend not to add cheap by default…

    • avatar

      Hey Erno, you deserve a thank you for that…even 4-5 years ago im doing this now and i almost just pasted the whole list, but you are correct. i offer FREE shipping and sell pretty cheap (obviously lol) so yeah just wanted to say thanks for the heads up on that. i nearly shot myself in the foot a little if not for you 🙂

  • avatar
    The canadian wheels 

    on 

    what type of negative keywords should we use for running an online buying and selling cars.

  • avatar

    As a Google PPC ninja once told me, it is important to constantly split-test new ads so that messaging is consistently being refined in a competitive marketplace. That happens on at least two levels: 1) The ads themselves, inside Adwords. It has easy split testing for ads and reports optimal performance. 2) On your landing page itself. That’s where a lot of people miss the boat on conversions. They blame the ads but don’t split test elements or versions of their landing pages. There are lots of ways to do this, but it’s kind of technical and as a business owner I couldn’t really be bothered with learning the details, but I can refer you to Simon. Call him – 302-401-4478 .

  • avatar

    Hi Kayla, Great info above on negative keyword types. I have a
    (slightly related) question regarding negative keyword lists. We’ve recently
    taken over an account that is structured in a way that we’ve never seen before.
    The ad groups are split by match type with negative keyword lists, for the
    broad and phrase ad groups, consisting of the same keywords as the ad groups. i.e.
    Broad ad group = Phrase negative keywords, Phrase ad group = Exact negative
    keywords, Exact ad group = no negative keywords. Is this account structure used
    often?

  • avatar

    Thats something we have forgot,thanks for reminding

  • avatar

    Grate list of negative keywords . This post help me lot for my ad word campaign creation.
    thanks

  • avatar
    Alex Hubert 

    on 

    Well… thank you for that great article !
    I have some of them in my own “blacklist” but this will come in handy.
    I’m always amazed by what some people can search for… the word “porn/porno” is typically the one I’m always reluctant to use, thinking “this can’t exist”.
    Well, Rule #34 proves me wrong every time.
    Concerning the terms “review” and “information”, if you dont provide any kind of review or information on your product, the conversion rate might still be pretty low in comparison with other keywords.
    However, maybe creating another Ad Group especially for this type of audience + optimizing your landing page can give some interesting results…

  • avatar

    Well Well Well… Haven’t I learnt something new? (talking to self).
    I must say thanks to the author and other posters who gave ideas on keyword terms to add to the negative list. I did not understand that concept in the running of an Ad so this was very informative.
    I can clearly see how avoiding those negative keywords would streamline my ads so that they do not attract non-paying/buying/irrelevant visitors to my site.

  • avatar

    I agree with Brandon. I would also stay away from most “review and information” keywords mentioned in your list as it would block people who are at the end of their buying funnel and checking out products with good reviews and better product information.
    And most importantly if I am providing “free shipping” with my products, blocking the term “free” will stop our ads from displaying for terms like “chess sets with free shipping” or “laptop computer ship free” etc.
    “Free” should only be used as a negative if you do not offer “free shipping” or “free returns” etc. on your site.
    You should also use your judgement when blocking “craigslist”, “eBay”, “amazon”, “kijiji” and other competitor sites from your ads. If these terms are not costing you a lot, and your conversion figures justify keeping them, you should not lose the opportunity to show your ads to people who were looking for products on these shopping channels and competitor sites. The more ad impressions you get, the better branding you are going to develop over time.

  • avatar

    This is a very resourceful list that every pay-per-click marketer should have. I see so many people waste money foolishly by using generic terms. There are keywords and then there are buyers’ keywords, and negative keywords are a big part of narrowing that target market.
    Ad providers prey on the ignorance of advertisers, but this is the kind of stuff people need to be aware of upfront. Of course, it’s up to them to learn, and sadly, many people are too eager to just jump right in.

  • avatar
    Ivo Antunes 

    on 

    you’re welcome!!! you should try keyword tool (inside Google adwords). try to use your “positive” keywords and check which ideias you really don’t wan’t that trigger your ads. then use these ideas as negative keywords. it’s a really huge big help!

  • avatar

    Great post , I have been running Google Adwords for almost a year now and never even considered these. I am definitely going to check the before and after. Thanks for the post should really help.
    @Ivo Antunes , thanks for the major additions will add these to my list when I check them out.

  • avatar

    @bigbrownies it’s certainly not unique to Adwords. Microsoft Adcenter and Yahoo Sponsored Search both allow for negative keywords. Remember they are only necessary if you use broad or phrase match keywords.

  • avatar
    bigbrownies 

    on 

    Well, you sure learn something new everyday. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of negative keywords. This post has been most enlightening. Does this only work with AdWords or can you apply this with any ad program?

  • avatar
    Ivo Antunes 

    on 

    I would like to increase this list with a few more, such as:
    concept
    curriculum
    course
    definition
    dictionary
    phase
    photographs
    photos
    idea
    image
    pictures
    game
    games
    kit
    market
    and that
    which is
    what is
    meaning
    means
    graduate
    postgraduate
    graduate
    profession
    professions
    proposal
    recruitment
    technical
    university
    used
    video
    wiki
    legislation

  • avatar

    Such a great list. We had many of these terms on our own list already, but the beauty of this is the way it has been broken down. Very nice work.
    I’d add;
    “what is”
    “why”
    “example”
    “sample”
    to your research section as well.

  • avatar

    I disagree with the “review” and “information” terms. Having these as negatives could exclude people in the compare stage of the buying funnel. Those terms can also prohibit a lot of cheap brand traffic you’re not careful.

  • avatar

    Great, comprehensive list! I found a couple that I had missed. Another suggestion to your readers is to use the Google Adwords “shared” negative list which makes populating negatives across dozens or hundreds of campaigns a breeze…but ONLY if you remember to “apply” all campaigns to the list. It’s very easy to forget to add new campaigns to the shared list.

    • avatar
      Darian Schouten 

      on 

      Great suggestion, Barb! The only thing to be mindful of is when some of the negative keywords are actually relevant to your product. -Especially for companies selling, “Cheap, YouTube Career Training Classes.” 🙂

  • avatar

    Useful idea. The results for the searchers would be much refined by implementing this.

  • avatar

    Thanks a lot for this great list! Usually people will not think of adding negative keywords as they feel that it will push people away from their ads. And I think the uses of such a list are not limited to Adwords campaigns. You can also add such words to your article titles to gain more attention.

  • avatar
    purpletears 

    on 

    Thank you very much for sharing this comprehensive list with us. I heard about some of these negative words,but most of them were new for me.

  • avatar

    Wow. I can definitely see how these negative keywords would drastically reduce the number of unqualified leads. I’m looking forward to my “before & after” statistics after adding these to my campaigns. Thanks!

  • avatar
    Ramkrishnan 

    on 

    Thanks for the wonderful idea on Keywords.

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