Negative Keyword Lists
Match Types in Google
- Broad Match – This match type is very open-ended. Your ad may show if a user searches for your keyword, a related keyword or a variation of your keyword.
- Broad Match Modifier (BMM) – More strict than broad, if you’re using this match type, your ad may show if a user’s search contains all of your BMM keywords anywhere in their search term – or close variations of your keywords with the same meaning.
- Phrase Match – Your ad may trigger when a user’s search contains your exact keyword phrase or a close variation of your keyword phrase with the same meaning.
- Exact Match – Exact matches of your keyword or close variations with the same meaning.
Over the years, these match types have changed significantly.
Google now has much, much more leeway in which situations it will show your ads. Words like “related”, “same meaning” and “close variations” which are bolded above, give Google a lot of latitude in when it will show your ads.
Google’s reasoning beyond this is that it will help advertisers. From the official Google Ads blog on 4/17/2012 – “Based on our research and testing, we believe these changes will be broadly beneficial for users and advertisers”.
One of the best ways to prevent unqualified people from seeing your ad, clicking on your ad, and destroying your budget is to deploy negative keywords.
What is a Negative Keyword?
According to Google, a negative keyword is “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase”.
How Negative Keywords Work
Most people who are advertising online will want to use the word “free” as a negative keyword.
For example, if you’re a dentist, you don’t want your ad for dental cleanings to show up if someone searches for “dental cleanings free” or “free teeth cleanings”. People that are looking for things for free are not a good investment for your business. So you should make “free” a negative keyword.
Negative Keywords Structure
Negative Broad Match
Negative Phrase Match
Negative Exact Match
The searches below should provide a better understanding of how negative keywords work.
Negative Keyword Searches
|User's Search||Negative Broad Match|
|Negative Phrase Match|
|Negative Exact Match|
|Independent Contractor Near Me||NO*||NO (a)||YES (f)|
|House Contractor Independent||NO*||YES (b)||YES (f)|
|Independent Contractor||NO*||NO (c)||NO (g)|
|Independent Contractors||YES**||YES (d)||YES (f)|
|General Contractors Near Me||YES***||YES (e)||YES (f)|
Negative Broad Match Results
Negative Phrase Match Results
Negative Exact Match Results
(g) The ad will not show because the user’s search exactly matches the negative exact match keyword ‘independent contractor’
How Do You Find Negative Keywords?
Before Running Your Campaigns:
Start with Negative Keyword Lists
After Your Campaigns Have Started:
Review Search Term Reports
A Tip to Find Negative KeywordsFor many of my campaigns, I find that Microsoft Ads gives much more detailed and extensive search queries. Generally speaking, Google Ads only provides search terms where someone clicked on your ad. Microsoft sometimes provides search terms where your ad showed for a search, but the advertisement was never clicked. The Microsoft Ads Search Term Report can be a hidden gem for finding negative keywords, and checking out the search term reports in Microsoft Ads is often overlooked by many marketers.
Where Do I Add Negative Keywords?
MCC Level Negative Keyword Lists
If you’re managing a lot of accounts, you can share negative keywords across multiple accounts with an MCC Level negative keyword list.
Account Level Negative Keyword Lists
Campaign and Ad Group Level Negative Keywords
Negative Keyword Sculpting
Ad Group 1:
Ad Content: Get Your Appliances Fixed Fast….
Ad Group 1:
Ad Content: Frigidaire Appliance Repair Specialists…