Definition of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are specific words or phrases that help prevent an advertiser’s ad from being triggered by a certain search query in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. By adding negative keywords, advertisers can refine and narrow their audience, making sure their ads are only shown to users who are truly interested in their products or services. This helps to reduce unqualified clicks, save on advertising costs, and improve overall campaign performance.


The phonetic transcription of the keyword “Negative Keywords” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is: /nɛɡətɪv ˈkiːwɝdz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Negative Keywords prevent your ads from being triggered by irrelevant search queries, allowing you to filter out unwanted traffic, save on ad spend, and improve your click-through and conversion rates.
  2. Regularly reviewing and updating your Negative Keywords list ensures a more efficient and targeted advertising campaign, as it helps prevent wasted impressions and keeps ad costs in check.
  3. There are three types of Negative Keywords: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Each type allows you to specify the level of accuracy when filtering out keywords, ensuring a customized and more precise ad targeting process.

Importance of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords play a crucial role in the world of digital marketing as they help marketers refine their targeting and optimize their ad campaigns.

They are essentially words or phrases that prevent ads from being triggered by specific search terms, ensuring that the ads are displayed only to relevant audiences.

By incorporating negative keywords, marketers can avoid wasting their budget on clicks that are unlikely to convert, thereby improving the efficiency and overall return on investment of their campaigns.

Moreover, the use of negative keywords enhances the ad’s quality score, which in turn leads to better ad placements and lower costs per click.

Ultimately, negative keywords enable digital marketers to streamline their campaigns, reduce costs, and increase the likelihood of reaching their target audience and achieving desired outcomes.


Negative keywords play a crucial role in the optimization of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns by allowing advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing for certain search queries. The main purpose of negative keywords is to refine target audiences and increase the likelihood of generating high-quality clicks from potential customers.

By incorporating negative keywords in campaigns, advertisers can eliminate irrelevant or low-performing search terms, thereby reducing wasted ad spend and improving the overall return on investment (ROI). Utilizing negative keywords effectively ensures that you remain focused on your core audience and serve your ads to the most relevant users. This process not only helps enhance the overall performance of your PPC campaigns, but it also contributes to a better user experience, as ads shown to the users become more relevant to their search queries.

In turn, optimized ad relevance can lead to higher click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates. Thus, incorporating negative keywords in your digital marketing strategy is an essential aspect of maintaining successful and cost-effective ad campaigns.

Examples of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are words or phrases that you can add to your paid search (PPC) campaigns, such as Google Ads, to prevent your ad from being shown when those specific terms are present in a user’s search query. This helps businesses save money by avoiding clicks that are less likely to convert. Here are three real-world examples:

A local bakery that specializes in gluten-free products: The bakery wants to target users searching for “gluten-free bakery” or “gluten-free desserts.” However, they will not cater to customers looking for traditional wheat-based products. In this case, the bakery can add negative keywords like “wheat,” “whole grain,” and “non-gluten-free” to avoid having their ad displayed to users searching for wheat-based bakery products.

A luxury watch retailer: This retailer sells high-end, luxurious watches and wants to target users searching for terms related to luxury watches. To narrow down their audience and ensure they’re targeting the right customers, they can add negative keywords such as “cheap,” “discount,” “affordable,” and “low-cost” to prevent their ads from showing up in search results for customers looking for budget options.

A pet store that only sells dog supplies: This pet store specializes in dog supplies and products but does not carry items related to other pets. They want to target dog owners in their ad campaigns. To avoid their ad being shown to people looking for supplies for other pets, they can add negative keywords like “cat supplies,” “bird supplies,” “reptile supplies,” and “aquarium supplies.”

FAQ – Negative Keywords

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are specific words or phrases that help prevent your ad from being displayed to users who are unlikely to be interested in your product or service. By including negative keywords in your campaigns, you can filter out irrelevant search queries, increase the relevance of your ads, and improve your overall campaign performance.

Why are negative keywords important in an ad campaign?

Negative keywords help you save money on your ad campaign by reducing wasted clicks and impressions on irrelevant searches. They improve your click-through rate (CTR), ad relevance, and overall campaign performance, by only showing your ads to users who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.

How do I add negative keywords to my ad campaign?

To add negative keywords to your ad campaign, first go to the ‘Keywords’ tab in your ad platform’s interface. Then, click on the ‘Negative Keywords’ option in the sidebar. Here, you can add negative keywords at the ad group or campaign level. Just type in the keywords you want to exclude and save your changes.

What types of negative keywords can I use?

There are three types of negative keywords: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Broad match negative keywords block your ads from showing for any search queries containing the specified keywords in any order. Phrase match negative keywords block your ads when the entire phrase is part of the search query. Exact match negative keywords only block your ads when the search query is the exact match of the specified keyword.

How often should I update my negative keywords list?

It’s important to regularly review and update your negative keywords list to ensure that your ads are consistently reaching the most relevant audience. Check your search query report and analyze the performance of your ad campaign to identify new negative keywords that you should add to your list. A good practice is to review your negative keywords at least once a month or more frequently, depending on the size and performance of your campaign.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Excluded Search Terms
  • Irrelevant Keywords
  • Keyword Filtering
  • Non-Targeted Phrases
  • Keyword Exclusion

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