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Negative Keywords Lists for Google Ads You Must Add Right Now


Negative Keywords Lists for Google Ads You Must Add Right Now

Negative Keywords Lists: Whether you’re in and out of your account adding negative keywords every day or you’ve never heard of them, check out our list of essential negative keywords for all accounts.

But first, if you don’t know what they are – it’s about time you found out or used a Google Ads Specialist who will know exactly how to build and optimise your brands most valuable asset.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords let you define terms which would prevent your ads from showing.

They allow you to better target your customers and make sure you only spend your precious budget on customers who are likely to make a purchase.

The negative keywords you choose could be for a number of different reasons from cutting out clicks with unexpected meanings, different intentions or low quality leads.

Keyword changes meaning

Just one word or phrase can completely change the meaning of what someone is looking for. An example commonly used is the word “glasses”.

If you sell drinking glasses, you might think bidding on “glasses” is a good idea.

However, when a searcher looks for “glasses”, they’re much more likely to be looking for glasses to help them see.

Suddenly you’re bidding to show up beside Specsavers and Vision Express. When someone accidentally clicks your ad, you pay.

This person almost certainly has no interest in buying your wine glasses or tumblers – so you definitely don’t want to pay for it.

This can happen more than you think. With computer games and TV series like Minecraft and Game of Thrones prompting vast numbers of searches, some seemingly straightforward phrases can be anything but what they seem. :open_mouth:

Negative Keywords Lists: Keyword shows intention

A keyword doesn’t have to completely change the meaning of a search, as we saw above. It could show different intentions.

If you’re an accountant, you might be bidding on “tax auditor London”. Again, seems sensible, right?

However, when someone comes along a searches for “tax auditor London jobs” or “tax auditor London salary”, you probably don’t want to pay for one of these people to come to your website. :anguished:

It’s immediately clear that they won’t be interested in your services and you’re unlikely to recoup your advertising costs from them.

Keyword suggests low profit level

Unlike the two examples above, a keyword might show that someone is interested in your product or service but still not be suitable for you to bid on.

Let’s say you deliver high quality personalised training sessions to businesses. It might be sensible to bid on a phrase like “management training”.

However, when someone searches for “online management training” or “cheap management training” they might be interested in what you do, but they’re likely to be looking for a low-cost alternative.

Keyword match types

Just as you can use broad match, phrase match and exact match keywords, you can use broad match, phrase match and exact match negative keywords too.

Negative broad match

This is the default setting for any negative keyword you add. So if you have some already and they’re not phrase or exact match, then this is what you’ve got.

Your ad won’t show if it contains all your negative keywords, no matter what order they’re in. But an ad might show if it contains only some of your negative keywords.

For example,

Broad match: waterproof jacket

Could show:

Womens yellow jacket

Waterproof mens coat

Couldn’t show:

Womens waterproof jacket

waterproof jacket

jacket waterproof

Negative phrase match

Your ads won’t show if the search includes the keyword terms you define in the order you set. It might include additional words, but it won’t show as long as your negative phrase is in order.

For example,

Phrase match: ’waterproof jacket’

Could show:

Womens yellow jacket

Waterproof mens coat

jacket waterproof

Couldn’t show:

Womens waterproof jacket

waterproof jacket

Negative Keywords Lists: Negative exact match

Negative exact match means that your ad will not show as long as a search contains your exact keywords in the order you specify with no additional words.

For example,

Exact match: [waterproof jacket]

Could show:

Womens yellow jacket

Waterproof mens coat

jacket waterproof

Womens waterproof jacket

Couldn’t show:

waterproof jacket

For more on match types and their effects, see  Google’s negative match type definition

Do I really need negative keywords?

In a word, yes.

But it can be difficult to apply to your own business sometimes, as you’re so used to seeing everything in context. :confused:

Fresh eyes from an external specialist can help to identify these for you, as they have the benefit of being slightly removed.

If you still need convincing, try looking at your search terms report in AdWords. This will show you the phrases people have searched when they have clicked on your ad. :anguished:

For phrases with no or few negative keywords will often show irrelevant searches in this report which can give you inspiration for your negative keyword list. This guide from Google shows how you can find and use this report.

Negative keywords you need to add

All businesses are different. You will need to identify phrases in your business which can be interpreted differently, show a different intention to what you want and might suggest a low-profit customer.

This guide from WordStream gives some practical tips and ideas of what you can do to build your own keywords lists specific to your business.

However, there are terms that most accounts can benefit from adding as negative keywords.

Low quality leads

Terms such as the following would suggest a low quality lead, a customer who might be interested in what you do but is unlikely to purchase.

Open source
Low cost

Recruitment and jobs

You might be keen to recruit some of the best talent your industry has to offer, but do you want to consistently pay for potential recruits to visit your website?


Research and information

These phrases would indicate that someone wants to learn or find out more about a topic or product and isn’t yet ready to buy.

User guide
How to
How do I


The following phrases would indication that someone is looking to learn more about a topic or area, rather than buy any products or services.

Training courses
How to videos


These phrases would suggest that someone is looking for a specific file type or something other than your products or services.


Negative Keywords Lists: We have helped businesses across the UK to review their accounts and eliminate their wasted budget. With fresh eyes and as experts in online advertising, we can make sure you don’t fall victim to irrelevant searches. Stop wasting money and get in touch today.



Chris is a unique hybrid of business acumen, technical know-how and digital marketing acumen. The 'Geek' in PPC Geeks, academically Chris always was on the business side and went on to manage major software implementations before setting up his own digital marketing agency.

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