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Negative Keywords – Why You Should Use Them?

Negative Keywords

In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising keywords are the best way for someone to find your ads online. If you have ever done pay-per-click (PPC) advertising you know that not every click is a sale and you can pay for a lot of useless clicks. Do you know how to prevent your adds from being seen by viewers who have no interest in your offer? This is where negative keywords are a must for your PPC ad campaigns.

So What Are Negative Keywords?

A negative keyword is similar to other keywords except you precede them with a ‘– ‘ sign. This tells the search engine to disregard any searches using that keyword and to not list your ad in that search results.



Lets say you are advertising sale on books with pictures of classic American made motorcycles. You want people interested in pictures of classic American made motorcycles to see your ad. But what if someone is looking for bicycles and enters the keyword “bike” in a search?

Will they see your page?
Not if you have “bike” as a negative keyword.

You can use the negative keywords:

  • -bike
  • -bicycle
  • -peddle Bike

Then your ad would not be shown.

How do I know what negative keywords and phrases to use?

Just like choosing the right keywords and phrases, it takes time and research to choose the right negative keywords and phrases. Try to determine what people looking for your product are typing into search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Try searching yourself to see what comes up to help you decide what keywords will work. Put the keywords that will put your ad in the search results. Then think of a few keywords and phrases that you should enter as negative keywords to keep your ad off those search results.

Don’t go overboard

Take care not to enter negative keywords that might block the keywords you want to work. If you are using Google AdWords your negative keywords and phrases are set to [broad match] by default. Any words in your negative list that also appear in your keyword list will be disregarded in a search.


Key phrase “Calenders of house cats” may be ignored if you have the negative key phrase

“-big cats” set to [broad match] because the word cats is in both key phrases.

If you change “big cats” to [exact match] only the exact key phrase “big cats” will be ignored.

Take your time

Add a few new keywords and phrases as well as negative ones to your ad every day. As your list grows you will see the positive effects it has on your click-thru-rate (CTR).

To Learn more about negative keywords and how to use them check out The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Negative Keyword List for a free tutorial.



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