negative keywords in adwords

Negative Keyword Blueprint for Adwords

According to Google, a negative keyword is a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase.

Before diving into how to add negative keywords into your campaign along with the best practices for this technique, I’m going to provide an example of how a solid negative keyword strategy saved Larry’s Louisiana Leather company money to help expand his business.

In the video below, I have outlined the exact steps to add negative keywords into your Adwords campaign, just in case you are more of a visual learner.

Larry owned a handmade leather store in Lafayette, Louisiana. Customers loved Larry’s leather so much that he would receive orders from all over the country. Larry decided he wanted to expand his business and open an e-commerce shop. He was confident that since he had so many brand advocates, this would translate into online orders.

After setting-up a PPC campaign, he spent $1,000 in the first week and didn’t get a single order. Larry was a nervous wreck that people didn’t like his handmade leather journals outside of the Bayou State. This small business owner didn’t have the budget to just flush money down the drain.

Below are the steps Larry should have taken prior to launching his campaign to add negative keywords.

1. Larry should formulate a list of keywords that he knows won’t convert into sales. This can include keywords like, “free” “cheap” and “affordable.”

Think of it, Larry isn’t going to generate sales if someone types in “cheap leather journal” when his leather is extremely high quality.

Check out the blog I wrote that lists negative keywords that almost all Adwords campaigns should include.

Creating a comprehensive list is an integral initial first step in successfully adding negative keywords into your campaign.

2. After you have created a solid list, within your Adwords account, you will want to click on the “Keyword Tab” and then below you will find a tab for “Negative keywords.” You will simply paste your keyword at either the campaign level or the Ad Group level and whala, your advertisements won’t populate any more when people are searching for these keywords.


3. Ok so you have added your initial list of negative keywords to your campaign but don’t get too complacent, your negative keyword journey has just begun. The next step is often overlooked by marketers. To the right of negative keywords, there is a “search terms” tab. This will provide you with in-depth search queries that you advertisements is populating for. I honestly recommend checking this every day as there will be garbage keywords that your ads will populate for that will likely never convert.


If you have someone else managing your Adwords account, you should check to see if they are monitoring your negative keywords. You can view the negative keyword list but I also recommend going thorough the search term report to make sure they are keeping a close eye on this.

If you are trying to manage your own Adwords account, hopefully you learned a thing or two about negative keywords that should improve your campaign performance. If you want your Adwords campaign to be effective, it is crucial to spend time within your account each day, and going through your negative keyword list is a great first step.

acquisio request a demo

Jason Parks

Jason Parks

Jason Parks is the President and Founder of The Media Captain and Cleveland Marketing King, two digital marketing and development agencies based in Ohio. He's a VIP Contributor for and has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News and Search Engine Watch on digital-marketing topics. Jason's agencies have helped hundreds of businesses increase their online exposure.

The First Machine Learning Marketing Platform
Built to Scale Search for Local Resellers & Agencies

Automate, optimize and track more campaigns, more profitably.