Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns

Have you ever searched for a particular question on 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.


What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are words or phrases that stop your ads from appearing in unrelated searches to your services or products. They help your ads reach a wider 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.

That way, the 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, your ad will not appear for irrelevant queries, allowing you to control your 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 conversion rates

As mentioned earlier, ads will appear in searches related to your industry by using negative keywords. As a result, it helps generate more high-quality leads for your website or displays your ad to those with a greater possibility of conversion.

Save 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 must unnecessarily pay for that click. 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 keywords are divided into three categories: broad match, phase match and exact match.

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. 

For example, consider the term auto insurance as our broad match negative keyword. The ad will not be displayed for queries like "insurance for auto," auto insurance", "auto insurance coverage," etc. In brief, if all 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


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

Phrase match 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. Additionally, you can 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”


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. 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 a Google Ads campaign will help us avoid extra costs associated with unwanted clicks and keep our digital marketing budget under control. But how can you find effective negative keywords to begin with?

Generally, we can find negative keywords in 3 ways:

  • Manual searching
  • Google Suggestions
  • 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. You 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

Source: Screenshot by User

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. Since 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 Suggestions

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

Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns
Source: Screenshot by User

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 Negative Keywords to Your Google Ads campaign

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

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account. 
  2. Select "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

Source: Screenshot by User


Effective Negative Keywords to Include in Your Google Ads Campaigns
Source: Screenshot by User

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-sized business, then every penny counts, so it is important to ensure 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 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 provided below.

Note: Some negative keywords provided may not be relevant to your campaign, 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 being used in our internet marketing agency. They simply don’t belong in any specific campaign, but 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
  • careers
  • employment
  • hiring
  • salary

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
  • course
  • degree
  • certification
  • school
  • home remedy
  • natural cure

Advertising & Media Negative Keywords

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

  • Test
  • Cheat
  • Family
  • Resumes
  • Builder
  • Cleaning
  • Education
  • Developer
  • Banking
  • Sex
  • College
  • Cheat
  • Fraud
  • Cheap
  • Free content
  • Free media
  • Free graphics

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 DIYs 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
  • DIY skincare
  • DIY beauty
  • DIY health remedies

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

Automobile Negative Keywords

When running Google Ads campaigns that are not related to automobiles, using negative keywords can help prevent your ads from appearing for automobile-related searches. This ensures that your ads reach the right audience and reduces wasted ad spend. Here are some common automobile-related negative keywords to consider:

  • Used
  • Second-hand
  • Discount
  • Cheap
  • how to fix
  • DIY repair
  • do it yourself car repair
  • car parts online
  • car tuning
  • Car performance
  • Car customization


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. Call 866-208-3095 or contact us here.


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. By selecting the suitable match types, you can target the right audience. If inappropriate match types are preferred, your ads will appear for irrelevant search results.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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