Keyword builds are critical in creating any campaign. When paying for keywords, you want to ensure every penny counts and goes towards users who will benefit from your product or service. In order to do this effectively, you must make sure you are including negative keywords in your campaigns to increase the relevancy of search terms on Google or Bing. There are three types of negative keywords: phrase, exact, and broad. 

What is Negative Phrase Match?

Negative phrase match excludes your ad from appearing in search results that include keywords in the phrase match in the same order. There may be keywords before or after the specified phrase match –  as long as a negative phrase match is used, your ad cannot be in the search results. 

When creating a negative phrase match, use quotations around the phrase, word for word, to ensure that you will not be charged for unqualified leads. 
For instance: if you have a beauty salon and you are looking for new customers for your hair services, you may want to create a negative phrase for “hair pin”.

Your ad WILL appear in searches like these:

“hair style with pin”

“style with hair pin”

“hair pin updo”

“hair style with red pin”

Your ad WILL NOT appear in searches like these:

“hair style with red pins”

“pin up hairstyle”

“bobby pins in hair”

“hair pin”

What is Negative Exact Match?

Negative exact match excludes your ad from appearing in search results that include precisely the exact keyword match in the same order. Negative exact matches are not to get confused with negative phrase matches, as they allow for close variants of the negative keywords to appear in search results. 

Close variants include any acronyms, abbreviations, misspellings, along with singular or plural forms of keywords. You must create negative exact matches for each variation of the keywords you are looking to negate.

When creating a negative exact match, use brackets around the exact phrase.

Sticking to the beauty salon theme, let’s dive into where your ads will appear for a negative exact match of [hair pin].

Your ad WILL appear in searches like these:

“hair style with pin”

“style with hair pin”

“hair pin updo”

“hair style with red pin”

“hair style with red pins”

“hair pin”

Your ad WILL NOT appear in searches like these:

“hair style with red pins”

“pin up hairstyle”

“bobby pins in hair”

What is Negative Broad Match?

Negative broad match excludes your ad from appearing in search results that include keywords in the broad match in any order. You must create negative broad matches for each variation of the keywords you are looking to negate. 

A common misconception is that negative broad matches will prevent ads from appearing in some, but not all of the keywords are used in a search. To reiterate, each negative broad match only prevents ads that contain all of the specified keywords used in a search. 

Overall, do not waste your money on irrelevant clicks. Negative keywords help narrow in on users that will be more likely to convert on your site.

For a negative broad match of hair pin:

Your ad WILL appear in searches like these:

“hair style with red pins”

“hair pin”

Your ad WILL NOT appear in searches like these:

“hair style with red pins”

“pin up hairstyle”

“bobby pins in hair”

“hair style with pin”

“style with hair pin”

“hair pin updo”

“hair style with red pin”

How to Add Negative Keywords in Google Ads

1. To add negative keywords, sign in to your Google Ads account. On the left-hand side, click “Keywords” on the page menu. 

2. Then, click “Negative Keywords” and the “+” button in the big blue circle.

3. Select “Add negative keywords or create a new list.” You have an option to add negative keywords to a campaign or an ad group.

As Google states, “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.” 

If adding to a campaign, scroll down a bit to save the keywords to a new or existing negative keyword list and apply that list to the campaign. Enter a name for your new list, or select an existing list.

Have a question that wasn’t answered above? Or would you like our Google Ads team to audit your Google Ads account? Reach out to our team by filling out a Free Consultation form.

Emily Frenkel
Latest posts by Emily Frenkel (see all)