Skip to content

Negative Keywords in Google Ads: What are they & why they are important?

When creating your Google Ads Search campaign; using negative keywords can be the difference between getting the most traffic and getting the most relevant traffic.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords work the same way as ordinary keywords, except they are the exact opposite. Not that confusing, right?

Keywords will show your ads to people who have searched for that specific keyword on Google or their search partners, or a close variant of that keyword. Negative keywords will ensure your ad won’t show if that specific negative keyword is searched on Google Search. For example, if you are selling children’s toys and have the keyword “toys for sale” it may be a good idea to have “adult” as a negative keyword. This way your ads won’t show for any search with the word “adult” in the search term.

Types of negative keywords.

Like ordinary keywords, negative keywords also have match types.

  • Negative broad match will ensure your ads aren’t shown for searches containing that keyword in the search term. If you use multiple words in the negative keyword, your ad may still show if the search term contains only a few of those words.
  • Negative phrase match won’t show your ads if the search term has that word. If you have multiple words or a phrase in the negative phrase match keyword your ad may still show if the search term doesn’t have the same word order or spelling.
  • Negative exact match won’t show your ad if that exact keyword appears in the search term with no additional words; spelling must be an exact match. If you have multiple words in the negative exact match, the word order and spelling must be an exact match to the search term otherwise, your ad may still show.

Like how keyword match types help narrow the audience you target; negative keyword match types help you narrow or reduce the audience you exclude.

Why negative Keywords are important.

Negative keywords can make the difference between bikes (Motorbikes) and bicycles, or new and used cars, clearer to Google Search. This way you can reach your most relevant audience and increase your chances of more valuable conversions.

In marketing, it is important to know who your target audience is and just as important to know who it is not.