Negative Doesn’t Always Mean Bad: How to Properly Use Negative Keywords for a Great PPC Strategy


There is no denying that the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategy is one of the most important online marketing strategies that any e-commerce merchant can use. The idea of the strategy is simple: you pay Google to make your ads visible for your target customer pool based on a marketing budget. Every time a potential client clicks on these ads, the marketing budget runs out little by little until the funds become depleted. These ads usually utilize high-ranking keywords related to your particular niche.

If you are already using the PPC strategy, you might have already heard the term “negative keywords”. However, you should not immediately disregard using negative keywords when it comes to your PPC strategy. In fact, you can learn how to use negative keywords in your PPC strategy in order to increase traffic and have a high conversion rate!

First of all, What ARE Negative Keywords?

When you were setting up your PPC strategy, you probably already had a list of relevant, high-ranking keyword that you wanted to use. However, you might have not thought about using negative keywords before.

In PPC strategy, Google defines negative keywords as “a type of keyword that prevents your ads from being triggered by a certain word or phrase”. These words can be related to your preferred keywords by having similar definitions, but there is a negative connotation that’s attached to these particular keywords.

For example, if you are trying to sell brand new Samsung phones, you want your ad to appear when people search for searches such as “new Android phones” or “new Samsung phones”. However, you do not want your ad to appear when people search for “Refurbished Samsung phones”. Refurbished phones can and do function as well as brand new phones, but you do not want your ad for a “brand new Samsung phone” to appear when people search for “refurbished phones”. The people searching for refurbished phones are not your target audience and running your ads in relation to those searches will actually lower the value of your business!


How to Find Negative Keywords

When you find negative keywords related to your product or service, you will be able to filter out unwanted searches and traffic in order to focus on your core audience. Thus, you must be able to find your negative keywords.

1.      Searching for Negative Keywords

There’s an easy way that you can search for negative keywords. You can use the WordTracker Keyword Tool and you can use your own market knowledge.

For the WordTracker Keyword Tool, you can use it by typing in your main desired keyword and choosing which negative keywords you don’t want to be associated with your ads.

Let’s go back to that first example: brand new Samsung phones. If you type in “brand new Samsung phones” in the tool, you will find other related searches such as “cheap”, “refurbished”, and “clone”. This is where your market knowledge comes in because you are using your best judgment to filter out possible negative keywords that people can use.

Once you’re satisfied with the list of negative keywords, you can list them down and move on to the next step.


2.      Prepare Your Negative Keyword List

After compiling your list of negative keywords, create a list by jotting down the keywords and placing them in square brackets. Add a “-“ in front. It should look something like this:


-[refurbished Samsung phones]

-[cheap Samsung phones]

-[clone Samsung phones]


3.      Use Your Google Adwords Account

Once you have your list of negative keywords ready, head over to your Google Adwords Account and click on the “Edit Campaign Negative Keywords” link. You must copy-paste all your negative keywords manually to create the list.


Why Create a Negative Keyword List?

There are several benefits that you will enjoy when creating a negative keyword list to prevent irrelevant searches from triggering your ads. You will have a better and more thorough understanding of your PPC campaign in order to make it stronger and more targeted. You will also be reducing the chance of clicks that do not convert to sales, or worse, clicks from a disinterred audience. This will also translate to a lower costs since your ads will not run for irrelevant searches. Finally, you will be able to get a better ROI for your marketing budget, since the people who will see your ads will be the ones who have a good chance of actually making a sale.