Digital Marketing

What are Negative Keywords & How Can They Be Used?

By Muhammad Hanzla Ijaz


What are Negative Keywords & How Can They Be Used?

As we dive straight into what are negative keywords?  It’s a good move to consider getting a short briefing on what these keywords are though.   

Keywords are words and terms people type into search engines to search for something online. In other words, keywords are a channel to connect your website with the intended audience, also called “search queries”. Keywords are one of the chief components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Proper utilization of SEO keywords helps the website rank higher & outsmart the competition.

You can read more about them in our blog post  What are keywords & how to do effective keyword research?

So until now, you would have a clear picture of what keywords let’s get back to what are negative keywords. 

Negative Keywords are an advertising filter (keywords or phrases) that stops your adverts from appearing when a search query has a term irrelevant to your ad. Negative keywords help digital marketers reach users with higher intent, resulting in higher marketing ROI. Using negative keywords in your campaigns filters out unwanted traffic at the correct time, helping you reach the most relevant prospects while reducing expenses.

Suggested Read: Amazing! Tips to Measure Your PPC ROI.

So, let’s assess as an eCommerce merchant if you are sleeping on negative keywords. Anyone searching for a topic that remotely sounds like your keyword will see your ads. The result usually leads to a bunch of wasted ad spend on traffic without interest in what you’re offering.

Keep in mind that they help you differentiate between specific subjects and those that are highly niche. They also make searching for information much easier about the topic they are interested in learning.

Types of Negative keywords

Negative keywords play a vital role in managing your Google ads campaign. Adding negative keywords can exclude your ads from specific queries, assuring that your ads are just delivered to the most relevant users.

Following are the negative keywords match types,

Negative Broad Match – It stops ads from showing up for searches that contain every term (in any order) of your keyword. Your ad can still appear for searches, including a term within your keyword. 

For example, Suppose you are selling cricket shoes and don’t want to appear for the search term cricket tournament. In that case, you might consider adding cricket tournaments as a broad match negative keyword.

Negative Phrase Match – It stops ads from appearing for searches containing your exact keyword that may have words before or after. Using this type of targeting, you ensure ads won’t appear in unrelated searches, such as those that include synonyms or different phrases. At the same time, letting you focus your marketing efforts on drawing the desired audience.

Also Read: What’s Audience Targeting & Strategies You Need To Go For

For Example, the keyword here is “bedding set”

Negative Exact Match – It excludes ads from appearing for searches that contain your exact keyword as it is, with no variations or different words. The syntax for your keyword is to put it in brackets ‘[ ]’.

For Example, the keyword here is [Track Pants]

Adding Negative keywords in Google Ads

Following are some simple steps you can follow to add negative keywords to your campaigns,

  • First, click on the keywords from the page menu on the left.
  • Click Negative keywords.
  • Then select Add negative keywords or create a new list.
  • Choose whether to add negative keywords to a campaign or an ad group, then select the specific campaign or ad group. 
  • Add your keywords, one per line. Make sure that your negative keywords don’t overlap with your regular keywords because this will cause your ad not to show.

Adding Negative Keywords in Bing Ads

Following are some simple steps you can follow to add negative keywords to your campaigns,

  • First click on the Keywords tab and then on the View drop-down menu.
  • Select ‘Negative Keywords’ from the drop-down menu
  • Then click on the campaign or ad group you want to add the negative keyword and click on ‘Add Negative Keywords.
  • Select your campaign or ad group and add the negative keywords.

Negative keywords on Amazon 

When it comes to Amazon ads, it’s no different than other PPC platforms. At the same time, positive keywords are available in all types; negative keywords come in two variants: phrase match and exact match.

Phrase Match – It stops ads from displaying in searches that include phrases specified by you. These are sets of words presented in a suggested sequence that might contain plural values and spelling mistakes. Phrase-match keywords are marked with quotes around them: “car wash”

Exact Match – You tell Amazon that the search query has to match your keyword exactly. Exact match keywords are formatted with brackets around them: [car wash]

Here is how both these match types will behave when the negative keyword is “red shoes”.


How do I find negative keywords on Amazon PPC?

  • Don’t forget the manual research 
  • Use the same keyword strategy throughout the sale funnels
  • Monitor the performance 
  • Product Terms
  • Competitor Terms
  • Audience Terms
  • Use Free Tools like Google Analytics and Google Trends

Suggested read: Amazon Advertising & Its Types

How can negative keywords best help advertisers improve the targeting of their ads?

Negative keywords can help advertisers better target their ads by cutting down on irrelevant clicks, saving enormous money in the long term.

Are negative keywords important?

Negative keywords can help improve:

  • CTR which ensures your ads only run against relevant queries
  • Exposing your account to more interesting impressions
  • Reducing the number of wasted clicks and increasing the proportion of high-quality
  • Make sure relevant users that click on your ad.


Ultimately running pay-per-click ads, the cost of clicks can add up quickly. Making sure you always reach the right audience can help simplify traffic and reduce unnecessary ad spending & that’s just one of the many ways you can use tactics like negative keywords to increase your ad performance. Building a negative keyword list is vital to your PPC ad campaign and your e-commerce site on Google search. 

They will benefit from targeted advertising through improved CTR and more relevant ad groups. The advantages of having a negative keywords list are a better allocation of the brand’s budget and potentially more revenue afterward.

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