Negative Keyword Lists For Search

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Location-Based Negative Keywords

In the realm of location-based negative keywords, comprehensive research is your best friend. The specific area where your business operates or serves greatly determines the kind of exposure your ads need. For instance, if you’re a local restaurant in New York City, a user searching for dining options in Boston is not your target audience. Therefore, “Boston” could be added as a negative keyword.

Similarly, if your e-commerce business doesn’t ship to certain locations due to logistics or costs, those locations should be included in your negative keyword list. By doing so, you can effectively control ad exposure and ensure your budget isn’t wasted on clicks that cannot convert into business.

Related Services as Negative Keywords

Consideration of related services is equally crucial when curating your negative keyword list. To illustrate, if your company offers digital marketing services, you may find that queries related to services you don’t provide – like print marketing, direct mail marketing, or telemarketing – are triggering your ads.

A comprehensive understanding of your business offerings will allow you to identify and include these irrelevant services in your negative keyword list, ensuring your ads only appear in response to relevant queries. This approach increases the potential for conversion, maximizes your ad budget, and improves the overall efficiency of your search advertising efforts.

Time-Wasting Searches

When it comes to negating time-wasting searches, the task becomes more nuanced. Often, the search intent isn’t explicit and requires interpretation. A good starting point is to identify common terms used by users in the research or browsing phase, such as “ideas”, “alternatives”, “reviews”, or “how to”.

In addition, terms that indicate price sensitivity like “free”, “cheap”, “discount”, or “bargain” can be a part of your negative keyword list. If your target audience is consumers who are willing to pay for premium products or services, these “bargain hunting” keywords might be considered negative as they may attract the wrong type of traffic.

Brands and Competitors

Brands and competitors also play a significant role in the composition of your negative keyword list. An intricate understanding of your industry landscape is necessary for this. You need to know who your competitors are and what other brands your potential customers could be considering.

If you’re selling a software product but don’t offer any Adobe products, you should consider adding “Adobe” to your negative keyword list. This way, you prevent your ads from showing up when a user is specifically looking for Adobe software, saving your ad budget from unproductive clicks.

Broad Topics as Negative Keywords

Broad topics that aren’t directly related to your business should be flagged as negative keywords as well. If you sell gourmet coffee beans, your ads shouldn’t be triggered by generic search queries for “beverages” or “drinks”. While these terms are technically related to your product, they’re too broad and could lead to your ad being displayed to users with no interest in coffee.

Continuous Management and Analysis

The process of refining your negative keyword list is ongoing. Regular analysis of your search query reports and performance metrics is essential. This allows you to identify new negative keywords and remove ones that may no longer be irrelevant.

It’s crucial to remember that the digital landscape is dynamic and constantly changing. What might have been a negative keyword last year might not be this year. Therefore, periodic reassessment and adjustment of your negative keyword list should be part of your search advertising strategy.

Utilization of Tools and Software

Consider using negative keyword tools and software to streamline your efforts. These tools can analyze large amounts of data and identify potential negative keywords based on their relevance and impact on your ad performance. They can provide insights that might not be apparent from manual analysis, making your negative keyword strategy more data-driven and effective.


Negative keywords play an instrumental role in optimizing your search advertising campaigns. They ensure that your ads reach users who are genuinely interested in your offerings, improving the probability of conversions and making your ad spending more efficient.

A well-planned and continuously updated negative keyword list can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your search advertising efforts. It ensures that your ads reach the right users at the right time, resulting in more relevant traffic, higher click-through rates, and ultimately, more conversions.

Remember, the goal of using negative keywords isn’t just about blocking irrelevant traffic – it’s about creating a targeted advertising strategy that improves your return on investment and contributes to your business goals. With careful planning, monitoring, and continuous refinement, negative keywords can be a powerful tool in your search advertising arsenal.

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