How to Add Negative Keywords to Your Google Ads Campaigns

March 1, 2024

How to Add Negative Keywords to Your Google Ads Campaigns | AIA Book in a free 30 minute strategy session

When it comes to paid search campaigns, figuring out the best keywords and making a relevant Google AdWords campaign or ad group and landing pages is vital to your marketing success. If you get the ingredients for Google AdWords right, target audience members who enter keyword-rich search queries will be triggering your ads to display.

Running effective Google AdWords campaigns can do a lot for your business, such as increasing your market share, growing your brand awareness, and padding your bottom line. But while Google Ads can help grow your business, it’s not an easy thing to launch and run.

Unless you’ve got millions to burn on experimentation, you have to have an airtight keyword research strategy. Having the right list of keywords will get Google to show your ads to the right people, protecting your investment, and increasing your conversions. Here’s how you can save money on Google AdWords campaigns with negative keywords.

You might also be interested in HOW TO GET ALL YOUR AD DATA INTO GOOGLE ANALYTICS?

What is the difference between positive and negative keywords?

Basically, positive keywords are a word or phrase that, when entered in Google, will trigger your ads to display on the search results page. Although this is a simplified explanation of how keywords work in Google AdWords, positive keywords, when triggered, are charged to your account. So, not having the right keywords for your campaigns can cause them to trigger way too much for the wrong audience. In this instance, you’re going to burn through your marketing spend without the conversion rates you want.

On the other hand, negative keywords are words or phrases that, when typed into the search query bar, won’t trigger the ads. In essence, negative keywords are one method you can use to protect your ad spend, preventing your ad from displaying for the wrong people. An effective Google AdWords strategy has to consistently expand both positive and negative keywords lists to get the best ROI for your AdWords campaign. Refining the keywords, you’re already bidding on will ensure the keywords are relevant.

But it’s important to understand that refining your keywords list doesn’t mean pausing the keywords that don’t perform well. It also means that you will need to eliminate specific search queries altogether. With negative keywords, you can remove the poor performers, so your ads only display to the right audience member.

You can add a positive broad match keyword that you bid on to your account, and it’s possible to do the same with negative keywords. You can add a negative keyword to campaigns and at the ad group level, too, and it’s also possible to assign negative keywords as a broad, phrase, and exact keywords. You’ll need to have a secure grasp of how these different keyword match types operate so you can get the most out of your Google Ads campaigns.

What are the benefits of adding negative keywords to an account?

  • Save Money

When you add negative keywords to a Google account, you prevent useless clicks on your ads. In this way, negative keywords protect your bottom line. Searchers who aren’t a part of your target audience won’t see your ads, so they won’t click on them and bump up your ad spend without converting. Another thing that negative keywords can do for your campaign is to prevent you from bidding against your own campaigns, which will muddy the data.

  • Higher Conversion Rates

Adding negative keywords to your account will prevent your ads from showing up for search terms that are unlikely to lead to a conversion. For example, it’s a good idea to add negative keywords that are the names of your top competitors, or that would imply a lack of intent to buy, like the word “free.”

  • Better Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Negative keywords prevent your ads from running against search queries that aren’t relevant. They also stop people who aren’t interested in your offerings from seeing the ads in the first place. In this way, negative keywords can also help the number of relevant people clicking on your ads to increase, thus improving your overall CTRs.

  • Ad Groups

When you use negative keywords to weed out search terms that aren’t relevant to your business and goals, then you improve the integrity of your ad group levels. Smaller ad groups that are closely related to each other let you create a single, laser-focused message that creates a relevant theme around your entire keywords list.

 How do you find negative keywords?

Google AdWords accounts that only use positive, broad match keywords are doing themselves a major disservice. While using broad match keywords and phrase match keywords will help you uncover new opportunities for your ads, they have one significant downside – they increase the chances of the wrong people seeing your ads, and this can cost a lot of money. Businesses must find relevant negative keywords for their ads and assign them to their accounts.

Adding negative keywords to your account is easy. Go to the campaign you want to use and then hit the keywords tab. Next, head on over to the negative keywords interface. Add your list of negative keywords, and then you’re ready to go.

But what if you don’t have a negative keywords list yet? Well, one of the easiest ways to build one is to analyse actual user query data, via the Search Terms Report, or through Keyword Planner. A previous case study on user query data should give you a good starting point for building your own negative keywords list.

Can We Help?

Analysing relevant keywords data and building a keywords list, positive or negative, is a time-consuming, yet crucial process. At Australian Internet Advertising, our digital marketing experts have been building relevant and effective Google AdWords campaigns for years. Contact us today and ask us how our services can take your Google Ads to the next level.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

Book in a free 30 minute strategy session
Google Reviews Icon