How to Find Negative Keywords in Google AdWords for your business?


Negative keywords google adwords

Identifying the right keywords for your business can often be a tiring task, but nonetheless, it pays off in the long run. When your keywords are set right, they can render higher Click-through Rates and possess a better Quality Score. Finding Negative keywords is a harder job to do as it requires plenty of planning and research.

Even though not seen to their true potential, negative keywords similarly, hold such an importance in AdWords campaigns. Negative keywords help an advertiser restrict their ads from showing for searches that are irrelevant to them. What is the worse that could happen if you don’t use negative keywords effectively?

  • If your ads are being displayed for irrelevant searches, your funds can get exhausted without seeing any significant conversion rate. This happens because you could still get clicks, but they aren’t quality clicks. It is very unlikely to get good conversions from these clicks.
  • Another possible situation is that there might be not many clicks at all. Users might just skip your ad as it is not what they are interested in. Your Clickthrough rate can fall down alarmingly and trigger a falling Quality Score. Your Cost-per-click will be soaring high following a dropping CTR and QS.

Having established the importance of negative keywords, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of setting up them for your campaigns.

Find Negative Keywords using Intuition –

Without a doubt, intuition-driven negative keyword selection is the first and foremost step most advertisers follow. However, savvy advertisers who have been in this game for a while now, suggest otherwise. We are not ruling out our intuitions here, but we are trying to explore data-driven techniques that yield better results and that are measurable.

Find Negative Keywords using Search Query Report –

A vital tool at your disposal is your search query report. Go through your search query report and look for any patterns. If a particular set of words or themes that are irrelevant to your product offerings are repeatedly triggering your ads, you might want to consider adding them to your negative keywords list.

E.g :

For instance, if you are selling semi-formal work clothes for women exclusively, you might notice that your keyword semi-formal work clothes under broad match have been triggering ads for men semi-formal work clothes. To avoid such ambiguity, you could set men as a negative broad match.

Likewise, if you notice that your ads are being triggered for a specific color (let’s say pink) that you don’t have in your inventory, you can set that as a negative keyword. You might have to exclude a couple more colors that aren’t relevant to your products.


What is important to understand here is that when you set a negative keyword under broad match, it not only restricts the search queries that you know from the search query report, it would also eliminate possible longtail combinations based on this root keyword.

Men under a negative broad match would restrict anything related to men. It will also restrict semi-formals for men, male office semi-formals etc.

Pink under a negative broad match would restrict pink, light pink, or such variations along with longtail combinations like pink sleeveless semi-formals, semi-formals for women in pink etc.

Now there might be a situation where users are searching for a pink semi-formal, they visit your page and buy a beige shirt instead of pink. This is a conversion, right? But such clicks have a low conversion rate, let’s say only 1/4th of such clicks convert. In such situations, instead of totally restricting the less relevant search queries, you can bid less for these keywords, say bid only 1/4th of your bids for better-converting keywords.

An interesting trend we have observed is that people often look for free stuff. If you aren’t giving away your products for free, set it as a negative keyword. But shipping might be free, right? So instead of using free as a negative keyword, use others that can fulfill the purpose.

Find Negative Keywords from Open-source Resources –

You can consider borrowing negative keywords from open-source resources available online, but you have to very careful. Not everything that is online is of importance to your business, hence being picky here is not at all bad. Before selecting match types for negative keywords, I suggest, go through a negative keywords blog for a better understanding of the limitations and reach of negative keyword match types.

Find Negative keywords from Google Keyword Tool –

Google’s Keyword Tool can also come in handy. From the list of keyword suggestions, you can get an idea of what possible keywords combinations users can employee to reach your page. If you find any of these suggestions irrelevant to your products, add them to your negative keywords list. You should also use your own keyword list to generate negative keywords. After all, we have invested a lot of time and effort in building up our keywords list.

Find Negative keywords from Competitor Research –

Using your competitor’s brand and product names as negative keywords can be of benefit too. But before you take this decision, closely monitor their performance and if they are low, you can proceed. If a user is looking for a specific brand or a product, they got no business to offer you. They are only eating up your clicks and exploiting your budget.

I understand, this a lot to process and proceed with. Most advertisers don’t do enough research into their negative keywords due to the paucity of time. To address their needs, AdNabu has built a Negative Keyword Tool. Using this tool you can generate a negative keyword list in less than a few minutes. AdNabu’s negative keyword tool maps all your search query reports, historical keyword and negative keyword data, and all possible long tail and short tail keyword combinations to recommend negative keywords that are best suitable for your campaigns. The negative keyword tool recognizes trends and patterns in your search query report, matches them to the conversion rates to identify low performing keywords for you. You can either set them as negative keywords or decreases bid as per your strategy. You can register for a free trial with AdNabu to use this tool along with many other automated features.

These are a few negative keyword selection tips we thought are fruitful. Do let us know if you follow any other approach that we missed out.

Find the right keywords for your business-Your Complete Keywords research guide

About the author

Mantha Sai Praveen

Content marketer by day, a poet by night.

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