This article focuses on how to find negative keywords for local businesses. Check out our negative keyword lists to learn more about negative keywords for Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.
It is Important to be Negative
A negative keyword is used to prevent your ad from showing when someone performs a Google search. In Google Ads, it costs money when someone clicks on your ad, so you don’t want your ad to appear on poor quality searches.
If you’re already familiar with Google Ads, you know that keywords are one or more words that are related to the products and services that your business provides. Example keywords for a plumber might be:
If you’re already familiar with Google Ads, you know that keywords are one or more words that are related to the products and services that your business provides. Example keywords for an HVAC business might be:
- air conditioner repair near me
- leaking water heater
When someone does a search for the above phrases, you want your search ads to appear so that they can click on your ad and call you.
However, you don’t want your ad to show and get clicked for the following search:
Someone conducting a search to get their air conditioner repaired for free will obviously be a giant headache as a potential customer. You’re running a business and don’t want your ad to appear for poorly qualified customers who will cost you money when they click on your ad.
Therefore, you’ll add “free” as a negative keyword to your Google Ads campaigns. You’ll actually add negative keywords to your ad campaign on a frequent basis to gradually increase the overall quality of your leads.
Negative Keywords for Local Businesses
Budgets are Tight
Adding Competitors as Negative Keywords
Don’t bid on your competitor’s brand name. Not only should you avoid bidding on your competitor’s names, you should also add competitor brand names as negative keywords.
Most of the people who search for your competitors probably already have an existing relationship with that competitor. Therefore, if someone whose search terms are related to your competitor, it doesn’t make sense for your ad to show for those search queries.
- They forgot their appointment time or are looking to reschedule
- They need directions for their appointment
- They have questions about insurance claims
Undesirable Google Ads Impacts
5 Tools To Find Negative Keywords
So we know not to deliberately bid on our competitors’ business names. Let’s go a step further by making sure anything related to our competition is added as a negative keyword. So how do we find competitor business information?
1) Search Terms Reports - Especially Microsoft
A common way would be to comb through the search terms provided by Google to find negative keywords. This is something you should be doing periodically anyway. I would strongly recommend that you go through the search terms report daily in the initial phases after kicking off ad campaigns – and weekly after that.
You should also check out the Microsoft Ads search terms report as sometimes you’ll discover many more irrelevant keywords in that report than what is provided in Google.
2) Use Our Negative Keyword Lists
On this site (FlexLeads.com), we have negative keyword lists containing the most common first and last names in the United States, state names, city names, country names and much more. By merely implementing these negative keywords, you’ll cut down on a lot of searches for your competitors and save your ad dollars for more relevant searches.
If someone in your town of Springfield does a search for “Springfield dentist Wilson” (Dr. Wilson is one of the dentists at your competitor Smith Dental) – your ad won’t show because “Wilson” is a common name that is on our negative keyword list.
3) Google Ads Keyword Planner
4) Use Other Keyword Tools
Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool by Neil Patel which allows you to find negative keywords related to your subject matter for free.
In the example below, I used “dentists” as my search term. You’ll notice in the results, the keywords “dentists for dogs” and “dentists job” both appeared. Your goal is to bring new patients into your dental practice. You’re not a veterinarian and – not a job search site – this makes “dogs” and “job” negative keywords that should be added to our list.
The tool will help you to easily identify irrelevant negative keyword terms that you don’t want to trigger your ads and deplete your advertising budget.
5) Use a Free Library Resource - referenceUSA
If you can take advantage of your local library and the Reference USA subscription which it may have to find out pertinent information about your competitors. This tool may be free if you’re a US resident depending on where you live.
I then click on “View Results” to see all the general dentists in the Greensboro, NC area.
Advanced: Refining Your Excel Spreadsheet to Add Negatives
Then you’ll highlight all data in that remaining column and Select – Data – Sort A-Z. I also deleted all blank rows.
There are other more automated ways to perform this process, but it gets into pretty advanced excel user-defined functions.
Add Negative Keywords to Your Ad Campaigns
Match Type for Negatives Behaves Differently
Get our List of over 3600 Negative Keywords for free by clicking below: