Negative Keywords – Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) -Part (2)

In the last article, we covered negative keywords, the reason and benefits of negative keywords and the different types of keywords within a PPC campaign. In this article we will take a more in-depth look at negative keywords and we will touch on the various tools used to generate negative keyword lists and how to actually include them in your campaigns.

For those of you who are unsure of what negative keywords are, here is just a recap; Negative keywords are keywords which prevent your ads from appearing and potentially receiving clicks from search queries that are not relevant to your product/service. For more information please read Introduction To Negative Keywords – Pay Per Click Advertising (ppc).


How To Incorporate Keywords Into Your Campaign:

To include negative keywords into your Pay Per Click Advertising Campaigns, simply select the campaign, and then select keywords. If you scroll down the bottom of the page, you should notice a small +icon box in the bottom left hand corner saying “Negative Keywords”.



Click on the icon and then a drop down box should appear as seen below, which shows Ad Group Level and Campaign Level.


Each level allows you to add, edit, delete or download keywords. Select the appropriate level you wish to add your negative keywords. Once you click the add button you will be presented with a box as follows; Simply add the keywords you want to add to that level, whether it be Ad Group or Campaign.


Ad Group Level: This means that the negative keywords selected prevent the ad triggered to show only for the keywords in this Ad Group. For example, if the ad group was “shredder” and the keyword was “shredder”, and you added the negative keyword “guitar”, then any search query with guitar in it will prevent your ad in this ad group showing. So if you had another Ad Group “Shredding” for instance, the negative keyword Guitar would not have an effect on this Adgroups ad showing, unless you added it specifically to that Ad Group or at Campaign Level (I will discuss later). Remember there are various negative match types – (broad, phrase and exact) and the selected match type will also have an effect on whether your ad is shown. Take a look at last week’s article for more information and examples on this.


Campaign Level: This means that the negative keywords selected prevent the ad triggered to show for all the keywords in all the Ad Groups of the campaign. For example, if you had 25 Ad Groups and Shredder was 1 of them and you added the negative keyword guitar. Then that negative keyword guitar would be applied to all the Ad Groups in your Campaign and would prevent all ads in all 25 Ad Groups from showing. However, you have to be careful when selecting this method because you might unwittingly ad a negative keyword at campaign level that prevents important ads or keywords from being triggered which you may not want to do.


Tools & Methods For Generating Negative Keyword Lists

There are tools and software available to help generate keyword lists including negative keyword generation. Some are paid and some are free. Examples of some of these tools include the Wordstream tool.


However, for the purpose of this article I am going to show some examples of free and simple methods to generate ideas. I always think that some of the simplest methods are the most effective, methods which people tend to overlook. For example a great way to generate negative keywords is to go to the Google Search engine and actually search specific terms. Google will present you with a list of popular search terms or related search terms. You can use this to draw up lists of words which are not relevant or clash with your keywords.  For instance, in the example below I typed shredder into the search bracket. As you can see Google presented me with some other similar serahces. As you can see Shredder Chess appears. Now if I am a paper shredding company or a guitar magazine/store, I might want to prevent my add showing for any search queries that include this term.


Another method is to go to the bottom of the Google page and to see the list of other related terms and searches which are related to this keyword. As you can see I might want to prevent my add showing for terms including Tesco or Garden.


Another simple method is to analyse the actual organic listings in the Search Engine Page. You might spot certain listings or sites which are popular but not relevant. In the example below you can see that the term shredder returned listings for both Guitar and Document/Paper Shredding. If I was a Paper Shredding company I could use this to add negative keywords including guitar, music etc.


Another great tool is to use Google Keyword Tool. Although this is used to generate standard keywords, it can be used to manipulate negative match types as well although it is quite limited.  Simply search for the term you want and then hover over the keyword in the returned results below. A little drop box should appear. Simply click on this accordingly and negative keywords should appear. Google will provide you with a list of 2-3 negative keywords for that keyword. However, these results are generally very basic and are usually alternate versions of that keyword including plurals, spelling alterations and various negative match types etc.


Another tool is to generate lists and ideas from analysing your Search Query Report in Google Adwords. This allows you to identify the search terms people have typed in and clicked on. It is a good way to weed out any search terms you don’t want in you Pay Per Click Advertising accounts.


Google Analytics is another tool that can be used to generate reports on search terms, referring search terms and keyword terms. Finally, also remember to just think logically and to use your own instincts and intuition in terms of knowing your industry, competitors and the various search terms you want and don’t want.

So to recap on what we covered today. We identified how to add keywords to your Adwords campaigns, how to distinguish between Campaign & Ad Group Level and various tools and methods to help generate lists. Remember negative keywords are a very important aspect of PPC Campaigns and can greatly improve performance. Therefore it is important to incorporate them accordingly. Hopefully this article and lesson can help you achieve success.









Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Patrick Long says:

    Thanks so much for this post. You’ve shared so much insight and information that is greatly appreciated.
    Negative keywords are a very important appearance of PPC Campaigns and can greatly improve performance. Therefore it is important to absorb them accordingly.
    PPC Marketing

  2. Buy to Let says:

    I do have the knowledge of in and outs of SEO but I don’t have much knowledge of Google Adwords and was search through the Google for some resources other Google Adwords Guide. I read both posts on PPC and I really got benefited. Very well explained.

  3. Great ! I’ve been searching google for several hours looking for relevant info on this, they definitely need to position your site on the first page!

Speak Your Mind