What is meant by negative keywords?

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How do I choose keywords?

A negative keyword is a word that you enter when you set up a search campaign and makes sure that the ad or ads are not displayed when the negative keyword is in a search query. surfer. 

Under Adwords, negative keywords are preceded by the minus sign (-) in the keyword list. Negative keywords can be listed at the level of an ad group or a campaign. It is also possible to create lists of typical keywords that can be repeated in different campaigns. 

If you use the keyword “car” and the negative keyword “-location” for an ad group, the ad will not show for all queries that include the keywords “car” and “rental”.

The use of negative keywords is very important in optimizing search campaigns, as they help to avoid unnecessary clicks and keep the clickthrough rate taken into account as part of the ad quality score . 

In some cases, not using negative keywords can lead to a large majority of useless, counterproductive, and potentially expensive postings. 

A solution provider of ph measurement for laboratory must put “pool” in negative key word, otherwise the essential of the displays is linked to requests from individuals who are off target.

The 4 types of negative keywords on Google Adwords

1. Unsuitable requests for your products or services

It’s simple. These are queries that are not at all interesting because they do not match the products or services you are marketing .

Take the example of a plumber in Toulouse who reports the search terms for his keyword + plumber + toulouse (as a broad query modifier )


By analyzing the search terms report, we find that this plumber has got impressions and clicks for the queries below:

  • become a plumber in Toulouse
  • training center plumber toulouse

These queries are not all interesting for our friend plumber. He spends money for nothing.

By excluding the terms -devenir and -formation (even – “center formation” ), his problem will be solved . 
Note : If you use broad match keywords , unsuitable queries will not fail !! This is the worst targeting , except if you like to throw your money out the window.

2. Targeted but “unsuitable” queries to the ad group

This is a problem that is related to internal competition between your ad groups and your campaigns. This is a very important point that is ignored or underestimated by companies that use Adwords.

What is internal competition?

To answer this question, nothing better than an example:

You have 2 ad groups, each with one keyword (to simplify the example):


A surfer taps on Google’s white shirt search . According to the rules of operation of the keywords in broad query modifier, the ads of your 2 keywords can potentially be disseminated for this search.

However, the logic would be that the ad linked to your keyword + shirt + man + white isdisplayed. It’s not just a question of logic, but also a question of efficiency . The ad of your keyword + shirt + man + white is specific to this type of product and the landing page is relevant for this search.

But sometimes (often?), Google Adwords is not logical. For different reasons, it will not display the ad that seems logical to you. In our example, it will serve the ad linked to the keyword + shirt + man . Announcement that is generic enough and redirects to an equally generic landing page. So performance (click rate and conversion rate) will suffer.

The solution ?

She is simple. In our example, just pause the term -blanche in the ” Man Shirt ” ad group  . So when a user typing white shirt on Google, you will be sure that it is the announcement of the ad group ”  Shirt White Man  ” will be displayed!

3. Targeted queries, but not profitable

And yes, it is not because the request is targeted that it is necessarily profitable. In your search terms report you will certainly encounter interesting queries (because they match the products or services you offer) but these queries will make you lose money .

Because your goal is to have cost-effective Adwords campaigns, you’ll need to exclude these queries from your ad group.

4. Targeted queries, with 0 conversion and a cost greater than your maximum cost per order

These queries are interesting but they have never recorded a conversion and their cost has exceeded your break-even point .

For clarity, let’s take a small example.

For our example, the breakeven point is set at € 15 (this is your maximum cost per order, at the top you lose money).

In your search terms report you have a query that has recorded 0 conversions and cost you $ 30, which is double your maximum cost per order.


When it comes to negative keywords, most companies focus on queries that are not relevant to the products or services being marketed. Admittedly, it’s already very good, but it’s not enough .

There are 3 other types of negative keywords . To ignore them is to take the risk of losing money . So, when you make your next search term reports, think about all those types of negative keywords.