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What Are Negative Keywords And Why Do You Need to Include Them In Your Google Ads Campaigns?

Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns and bid on specific keywords related to your customers’ interests. Using negative keywords improves your targeting and increases your advertising ROI.

How Negative Keywords Work

When researching negative keywords for search campaigns, seek search terms that are similar to your keywords but may be related to customers searching for a different product. For example, if you’re an optometrist who sells eyeglasses, you should include negative keywords for search terms like “wine glasses” and “drinking glasses.”

If you’re using Display or Video campaigns, you can use negative keywords to prevent showing your display ads or video on websites that contain the negative keywords. For Display and Video ads, a maximum of 5,000 negative keywords is considered.

Negative keywords for Display or Video campaigns aren’t as precise as they are for search campaigns. Your ads may still appear on websites that you want to exclude. The best way to prevent your display ad or video appear on unrelated websites, use content exclusions and site category options.

3 Types of negative keywords

For search campaigns, there’s broad matchphrase match, or exact match negative keywords. These negative match types work slightly differently than their positive counterparts. You need to add synonyms, singular or plural versions, misspellings, and other close variations if you want to exclude them.

For Display campaigns, banner ads won’t appear on webpages that fit the topic of the set of negative keywords that you have added.

For example, if you add a set of negative keywords like “women’s pants” and “girl pants”, Google display network would block bidding on a page with content about women’s jeans, even if the exact phrase “women’s pants” don’t appear on the page.

Negative broad match

This is the default type for your negative keywords. For negative broad match keywords, your ad won’t show if the search contains all your negative keyword terms, even if the terms are in a different order. Your ad may still appear if the search contains only some of your keyword terms.

Example
Negative broad match keyword: running shoes.

Broad Negative Keywords

Negative phrase match

For negative phrase match keywords, your ad won’t show if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the same order. The search may include additional words, but the ad won’t show as long as all the keyword terms are included in the search in the same order. The search may also include additional characters to a word and the ad will show even when the rest of the keyword terms are included in the search in the same order.

Example
Negative phrase match keyword: “running shoes”

Negative phrase match

Negative exact match

For negative exact match keywords, your ad won’t show if the search contains the exact keyword terms, in the same order, without extra words. Your ad may still show if the search contains the keyword terms with additional words.

Example
Negative exact match keyword: [running shoes]

Negative exact match

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