Negative Keywords

What Are Negative Keywords?

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are terms or phrases that prohibit your ads from being seen by people who aren’t interested in them. In this way, they allow you to reach out to the best potential audience.

Why Are Negative Keywords Important in Advertising?

In advertising, profitability is key. Poorly performing PPC advertising campaigns can eat up your marketing budget, waste your ad spend, and leave you with a below-average conversion rate. Negative keywords play a crucial role in optimising ad campaigns by ensuring that your ads are only shown to relevant audiences. By excluding unqualified audiences from viewing your ads, negative keywords help focus your campaign solely on the keywords that matter to your potential customers. This results in optimised client targeting and has great potential to increase your return on investment (ROI).

What Are Negative Keyword Lists?

Negative keyword lists are collections of terms or phrases that advertisers compile to exclude from their ad campaigns. These lists allow advertisers to systematically filter out irrelevant traffic across multiple campaigns or ad groups, ensuring consistent targeting and message alignment. Negative keyword lists can be organised by theme, campaign objective, or target audience, providing flexibility and scalability in campaign management. By maintaining centralised negative keyword lists, advertisers can streamline the optimisation process, reduce the risk of oversight or duplication, and ensure a cohesive approach to ad targeting across their entire advertising portfolio. Additionally, negative keyword lists can be shared and reused across multiple campaigns or accounts, facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing among advertising teams. Overall, negative keyword lists serve as invaluable tools for advertisers seeking to refine their targeting, improve campaign performance, and maximise return on investment.

How Do You Use Negative Keywords When Advertising Your Company?

When using negative keywords in your advertising campaigns, it’s important to carefully select and monitor them. Negative keywords can be applied at the account, campaign, and ad group level. You must choose your negative keywords carefully to avoid overdoing it, which can harm your campaign instead of helping it. While creating negative keyword lists and monitoring your campaign for irrelevant search terms that your ad is showing for is key for a successful ad campaign, overdoing this and using too many can severely limit what searches your ads show for. It’s crucial to find the right balance to effectively filter out unwanted traffic while still reaching your target audience.

What Are the Risks and Benefits When Using Negative Keywords?


  • Cost Savings: By preventing your ads from being displayed for irrelevant searches, negative keywords help reduce wasted ad spend and improve overall campaign efficiency.
  • Increased CTR: By targeting your ads more precisely, they can lead to higher click-through rates as your ads are more likely to resonate with the intended audience.
  • Enhanced ROI: Ultimately, the primary benefit of using them is improved return on investment. By focusing your advertising efforts on the most relevant audiences, you can achieve higher conversion rates and maximise the value of your marketing budget.


  • Over-Exclusion: One of the main risks associated with negative keywords is over-exclusion. If you use too many or apply them too aggressively, you may inadvertently block relevant traffic and limit the reach of your ads.
  • Missed Opportunities: Similarly, excessive use of them can result in missed opportunities to reach potential customers. It’s essential to strike the right balance between filtering out irrelevant traffic and ensuring that your ads are still visible to users who may be interested in your offerings.
  • Complexity: Managing negative keyword lists can be complex, especially in large or dynamic campaigns. It requires ongoing monitoring and refinement to ensure that your lists remain effective and aligned with your campaign objectives.

Conclusion: So What Are Negative Keywords?

In summary, negative keywords are a powerful tool in advertising that can help optimise your ad campaigns, improve targeting, and maximise ROI when used correctly. However, it’s crucial to approach their use with care and regularly review and refine your negative keyword lists to ensure they are aligned with your campaign objectives.