8 Best Practices for Using Negative Keywords in Advertising

Search engine advertising is an essential component of the marketing strategies of many companies today. However, simply posting ads on search engines is not enough to guarantee success. It’s critical to ensure your ad reaches the right audience and doesn’t show to people not interested in your product or service. An effective way to achieve this is by using negative keywords.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of negative keywords and their importance in search engine advertising campaigns. We’ll look at how negative keywords can help you cut costs, increase click-through rates, and increase the overall effectiveness of your ad campaign. We’ll also provide harmful keyword tips and tricks to help you achieve your advertising goals.

Essential points covered in this Negative Keywords Guide:

  • Negative keywords or phrases that you can exclude from your ad campaign.
  • Using negative keywords can help you cut costs, improve click-through rates, and improve the overall performance of your ad campaign.
  • Identifying common negative keywords, using keyword tools, monitoring your campaign regularly, and adjusting negative keywords based on performance are some of the best practices for using negative keywords.
  • Negative keywords can help you avoid showing your ads to people who aren’t interested in your product or service, which can increase your ads’ relevancy to your target audience.
  • By using negative keywords, you can refine your targeting and ensure that your advertising budget is used effectively to reach the right audience.
  • It’s essential to check and update your negative keywords regularly to make sure your ads aren’t showing for irrelevant or unqualified search terms.

Overall, the article provides valuable insight into the importance of negative keywords and how they can help companies achieve their advertising goals.

What are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are specific words or phrases that advertisers can use to prevent their ads from showing for particular search terms. Negative keywords tell the advertising platform which words or phrases to exclude from the advertising campaign. This helps ensure that ads are only shown to relevant audiences, which can improve click-through rates and conversion rates while lowering ad costs.

Benefits of using Negative Keywords:

Using negative keywords in Advertising or any ad campaign can provide several benefits, including reducing costs and making your ads more relevant to your target audience. Negative keywords can help eliminate irrelevant or unqualified search terms, which can reduce ad spend and increase the return on investment (ROI) of a campaign. Additionally, negative keywords can help refine your targeting and increase your campaign’s Quality Score, improving your ad’s overall visibility and performance.

Best Practices for Using Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords can be a powerful tool in any advertising campaign. However, their practical use requires careful planning, execution, and constant optimization. Here are some tips for using negative keywords to get the most out of your ad campaign.

#1: Conduct Keyword Research

One of the first steps to using negative keywords effectively is to conduct keyword research. Advertisers should use keyword research tools to identify negative keywords commonly associated with their products or services. This can help ensure that ads don’t appear for irrelevant search queries.

Several keyword research tools are available, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. These tools can help identify keywords relevant to your product or service and provide insight into how people search for them. In addition, these tools can help you identify negative keywords that should be excluded from your campaign.

#2: Monitor the Campaign Regularly

Regular monitoring of your ad campaign is critical to identify irrelevant search terms that may need to be added to your negative keyword list. Advertisers should regularly review the search query reports provided by the advertising platform to identify any irrelevant search queries triggering their ads.
By regularly monitoring a campaign, advertisers can prevent ad dollars from being wasted on unqualified leads. This can help reduce advertising costs and improve campaign ROI.

#3: Analyze Performance Data

Analyzing performance data is another crucial aspect of using negative keywords effectively. By regularly reviewing performance data, advertisers can determine which negative keywords are performing well and which need tweaking.

For example, if a negative keyword prevents ads from being shown to too many potential customers, advertisers may need to change the negative keyword to be more specific. Alternatively, if a negative keyword is not practical in preventing ads from showing for irrelevant search queries, it may need to be replaced with a more specific negative keyword.

#4: Be strategic with Negative Keywords

While it’s important to exclude irrelevant search terms, it’s also essential to make sure your campaign doesn’t target too narrowly. Advertisers must use negative keywords strategically so as not to exclude too many potential customers.

For example, if a negative keyword prevents ads for a potentially relevant keyword from showing, advertisers may want to consider changing the negative keyword to make it less restrictive. Alternatively, advertisers can experiment with different match types for their negative keywords to ensure they don’t exclude too many potential customers.

#5: Use Different Match Types for Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be used with different match types, such as broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Each match type has advantages and disadvantages, and advertisers should consider their campaign needs when choosing a match type.

  • Broad-match Negative Keywords are the most common and can prevent ads from showing for a wide range of search queries. While broad match negative keywords can effectively prevent ads from showing irrelevant search terms, they can exclude potential customers. Advertisers should use broad-match negative keywords sparingly and focus on more specific negative keywords.
  • Phrase-match Negative Keywords are more specific than broad-match negative keywords and may prevent ads from showing for search queries that contain the specified phrase. Negative phrase match keywords can prevent ads from showing on irrelevant search terms while allowing ads to show on related search terms.
  • Exact-match Negative Keywords are the most specific and can prevent ads from showing for search terms that exactly match the specified keyword or phrase. Exact match negative keywords can effectively prevent ads from showing for irrelevant search terms, but they can also be too restrictive and exclude potential customers.

#6: Be open to Experimentation

Choosing effective negative keywords requires Experimentation and testing. Advertisers must be willing to test new negative keywords and adjust their approach based on performance data.

For example, advertisers can experiment with negative keywords with different match types, test different variations of negative keywords, or adjust the list of negative keywords based on performance data. By being open to Experimentation, advertisers can continue to refine their approach and optimize the performance of their advertising campaigns.

#7: Consider User Intent

Understanding user intent is critical to using negative keywords effectively. Advertisers should consider the purpose of the search queries that trigger their ads and adjust the list of negative keywords accordingly.

For example, if a search term contains a negative keyword, but the intent of the search term suggests that the user is still a potential customer, advertisers may consider excluding that search term. By understanding user intent and adjusting the negative keyword list accordingly, advertisers can ensure their ad campaign is targeted to the right audience.

#8: Use Negative Keywords to Improve Ad Relevance

Using negative keywords can also help increase ad relevancy. By disabling ads for irrelevant search queries, advertisers can ensure that their ads are shown only to users who may be interested in their product or service.

In addition, by using negative keywords to exclude irrelevant search queries, advertisers can improve the Quality Score of their ads. Quality Score is an essential determinant of ad cost and position, and increasing it can help reduce ad spend and improve ad performance.


Negative keywords can be a powerful tool in any advertising campaign by conducting keyword research, monitoring the drive regularly, analyzing performance data, and using negative keywords strategically. By using different match types for negative keywords, being open to Experimentation, considering user intent, and using negative keywords to increase ad relevancy, advertisers can ensure the maximum effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

By streamlining their approach to negative keywords, advertisers can reduce ad spend, improve ROI, and increase the overall effectiveness of their ad campaign. Tell us in the comments section if you know any other practical Tips or Tricks for using Negative Keywords in advertisements to boost engagement!

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