Having a modern business means that you use modern digital marketing techniques. And this means that you have likely heard of Google Ads or Google AdWords, as it was formerly known. You are probably already aware that Google Ads functions like an auction, and bidding on keywords is how your ad is chosen to be placed in front of your ideal audience. But you may not know about negative keywords. 

If your bid is correct for Google Ads and your ad is relevant, then it will appear in search results. However, you will need to be sure that your ad is not showing to an audience who is uninterested. This is where negative keywords come in. This might sound like technical SEO (search engine optimisation) jargon but negative keywords are simple to understand and can make a significant impact on the success of your Google Ads campaign. 

Below we dive a little deeper into negative keywords. 

Different Types Of Negative Keywords


Just as when you are setting up your Google Ads campaign, when it comes to negative keywords, you can use broad match, phrase match, or exact match negative keywords. These  do work a little differently, however, and you will need to include synonyms, singular or plural versions, misspellings, and other close variations in order to fully exclude them. 

If you are using a display campaign, negative keywords will be excluded as an exact topic. These ads will not be shown on a page even if the exact keywords or phrases are on a page. If the content topic is strongly related to the negative keywords, the ad will not be shown. 


  • Negative Broad Match: A negative broad match is the default type. For this, your ad will not be shown if the search contains all of your negative search terms, including if the terms are in a different order. 


  • Negative Phrase Match: With negative phrase matches, your ad will not be shown if the search contains the exact terms in the exact order. The search might include additional words but the ad will not be shown if all the keyword terms are included in the search in the same order.


  • Negative Exact Match: Negative exact match keywords mean that your ad will not show if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the same order, with no extra words. Your ad could still show if the search terms include additional words with the keyword terms. 



Finding Negative Keywords


Now that you understand a little more about the different types of negative keywords, you are probably wondering how you can find these negative keywords. One of the best methods to do this is to examine user query data that is based on how people search. Google Ads Keyword Planner is the best tool to use for this, and is used by many digital marketing agencies too. 

Now, there is no setting in Keyword Planner that excludes keywords, but if you know which terms you do not want being associated with your business, then you can use this tool to find them. You can then add these keywords to your current negative keyword list and use this when creating your Google Ads campaign. 

Google Ads has a built-in Search Terms Report which shows you the actual queries that users types into Google which triggered your advertisement. Once you understand the phrases and words being used to trigger your advertisement, you can focus on creating a more accurate list of both positive and negative keywords. 


Competitive Research For Best Results


If you would like to go down the negative keyword research rabbit hole, you should turn to Google itself. You can perform a Google search for your primary keywords in order to find more. Any results that appear on the first page can be seen as information that Google deems important and relevant. 

If, during this search, you see any information that is not relevant to your company, brand, or business, add these terms to your negative keyword list. This way, your product or services will not be shown in searches that are irrelevant to them. You will also be able to see what keywords your competitors are using to boost their own campaigns and can work these into your own. 

Using negative keywords in your Google Ads campaigns might sound like extra added work but it can add a significant amount of value and save you money in the long run. A Google Ads campaign can help to improve your online presence, but if your ad is being shown for the incorrect keywords, you may be missing your key audience. 

If you would like to improve your online presence and find out if Google Ads will work for your business, feel free to contact the NetMechanic team to find out more.