The term negative keyword in AdWords is quite ambiguous and can be quite tricky to understand. However, it is one of the most important and powerful aspects of Google AdWords, through which you will be able to eliminate all the negative traffic that are not prospective customers or buyers of your product. You can lower your ad campaign costs with this amazing feature and it will help you to boost your income and profit through PPC.

About Negative Keywords:

Negative Keywords in Adwords

Before you delve deep into knowing about what negative keywords in AdWords are, you need to look into how keywords work. The searcher will type in some words, phrases or keys related to the product or information that he or she is looking for. When you include those keywords in your advertisements, your ad will appear before the searcher. The searcher will click your ad if it is relevant to the product that he or she was searching and there is the possibility of business or sales.

However, sometimes, these keywords can be really tricky and will bring you unwanted and unnecessary traffic that can affect your ad campaigns and investment. When you enlist your company for PPC or pay per click, you will have to pay for every click that is generated towards you through a search result. However, if that keyword is not very relevant for you and there is less/no chance of generating a business transaction, you would want to opt out from paying for those clicks. The negative keywords help you to save money on that.

For example, the searcher is searching for second hand or used wedding dresses and your website offers brand new wedding dresses. In such a case, you would not want to pay for the clicks and searches for those which will not bring you any business.

Adding Negative Keywords in AdWords Account:

Negative Keywords in Adwords

Now that you have gained some knowledge about what negative keywords in AdWords is and how it works, it is now time that you know about how to use this.

1 .Finding the Negative Keywords:

The negative keywords are obviously very diverse and different for each business. So, when you want to get rid of some negative keywords, it is crucial that you search for them at first. Certainly, the common sense will help you to know the ones that you really don’t want your ad to show up for. But, there is some other professional help in the form of keyword tools that will give a long list of all possible keywords associated with your business. Using these tools, rather than searching for the keywords that you are looking for, you can actually search for the keywords that you don’t want to pay for.

Also, if you are not too sure or confident about these keywords, which one you should avoid and which one you should keep, you can always hire the professionals. There are many professional digital marketing companies all across the country that can help your website with this. If you want to do this on your own, you can join an institute for digital marketing training in Kochi that will help you to learn more about these keywords and make you a pro.

If your website sells branded or designer household things like furniture, cutlery and crockery etc. and you don’t want searches like cheap or free, you should add them to the negative keyword list. On the other hand, sometimes there are ambiguous searches due to a similar term as glasses. It can be reading glasses or wine glasses. If your website doesn’t sell one of them, you should add negative keywords like ‘reading glasses’ or ‘wine glasses’ etc.

2.How to Add Negative Keywords to AdWords:

Once you have your entire list of negative keywords that you want to tell Google AdWords or that you don’t want your ad to show up for, you need to add them to the Google AdWords. The system is quite simple and easy. You have to put the negative keyword within square brackets, like this [Negative Keyword] and add a minus sign ‘-‘ right before it. For example, -[Negative Keyword].

3.Entering Negative Keywords to AdWords:

You need to add the negative keywords to the AdWords by Logging in to your AdWords Account. Then you need to click on the Tools options and there you will find the edit Campaign Negative Keywords.

As you click on this option and enter, you will find the ‘Enter Words Manually’ option. Make sure that you follow the system of adding a ‘-‘ minus sign and start with a square bracket and then write the keyword and then close the square bracket to make the negative keyword work.

The best part of the Negative Keywords feature of AdWords is that once you add the negative keyword for an Ad group level, it will not appear for any ad within that group. The same is applicable for the Campaign level as well. All the negative keywords that you add for a campaign level will not appear on any of the ads in that campaign. This means that your ads will not show up for any of these negative keywords added either or both to the ad levels and campaign levels.

Different Matching Options for Negative Keywords:

Negative Keywords in Adwords

One of the common PPC questions & answers is, how the keywords will match with the search queries. So, here is a simple discussion on how the keywords work.

1.Combination:Negative Keywords in Adwords

Suppose you have a negative key-phrase containing two keywords that you have put in a square bracket and added a ‘-‘ minus sign to make it negative. If a person searches with those two keywords or the entire key-phrase in the search engine, your ad will not appear to him or her. However, if any one of those keywords is used to make a different combination of keywords and then used to search for an ad, your ad will show up.

For example, you added -[cheap reading glasses] as a negative keyword. If someone searches with cheap reading glasses, your ad will not show up. But, if he or she searches with just ‘reading glasses’ or ‘cheap glasses’ or even ‘rimless reading glasses’, your ad will show up. However, if someone searches with ‘cheap branded round reading glasses’, your ad will not show up. This means, the searcher has to enter all the negative keywords, even when using them with other combinations, to make sure that your ad doesn’t show up.

2.Singular and Plural:

Often people make the mistake of not adding the plural forms of a negative keyword to the AdWords campaign. However, AdWords doesn’t eliminate the ads from showing up even when there is a slightest change in the keywords in terms of singular or plural.

For example, you added –[reading glass] as your negative keyword. But, if the searcher types –[ reading glasses], the ad will still show up. So, be careful with these little changes to make sure that you have added all possible combinations to eliminate unwanted click wastes.

Why Use the Negative Keywords?

Now that you have understood how the negative keywords work, you must have understood all about its benefits. Still, here is a brief and to the point discussion on the benefits of negative keywords.

  • You can eliminate any traffic that is not associated with your target market. This is a very important factor as this will lead to a better click-through rate (CTR). CTR is the number of clicks that your website gets through the advertisement. By adding the negative keywords in AdWords, you can eliminate the possible traffic to which your ad is not relevant. As the traffic is the target audience only, there will be a higher chance of having more clicks for your ads that is potential to be converted into sales.
  • As you will have a higher CTR, automatically your ad will be posted high on the search engine result page. You do not have to pay more for that position. And as your ad will be positioned high on the search engine, it will be easier for you to get even more clicks.
  • It is a very wise decision to add negative keywords to your AdWords account as by reducing unwanted clicks, you will not have to pay for the unnecessary clicks that will not be converted into sales.
    Negative keywords added to AdWords will give you a better idea of the keywords that are positive and most effective for your website and business. You will be able to identify them and include in your content.
  • It is a very easy and less expensive strategy that will fetch you a great return of investment.


If you want to learn more about this or if you are already a professional in the digital marketing field and want to excel in negative keyword strategy, you can join a digital marketing training in Kochi. There you will get learn all about negative keywords in AdWords.

Aviv Digital is one of the leading digital marketing training in kerala, Kerala. We offer a wide variety of globally recognized certification programs that include SEO, SEM, SMM, Email Marketing and Inbound Marketing courses. For more details, Contact us at: +91 9037 489 577