In PPC, it is as important to identify the search terms you don’t want as the ones that you do. This is where negative keywords come into the equation.

Pay per click is a topic that polarises opinion. Some see it as the perfect way to kick start your SEO and start ranking for the keywords that really matter, driving traffic to your site in an instant while you work on longer term organic SEO strategies. Others see it is a great way of burning money on fruitless keyword campaigns that might bring traffic but fail to deliver on conversions and tangible returns.

Of course, PPC can be either of these things, or it can land somewhere in the middle, depending on how solid your strategy is. And according to the experts at a PPC agency in Colchester, it is as important to understand the keywords that are of no interest to you as the ones that will bring the desired traffic to your site.

Negative keywords

This is, in essence, what negative keywords are all about. The Google algorithm is often spoken of with awe and reverence, as if it is all-seeing and all knowing. But the most successful SEO strategies, both in PPC and in other areas, are ones that treat it as a child, and one that takes everything extremely literally. Let’s look at an example to illustrate the point.

Suppose you are in the cake making business, coming up with bespoke creations for weddings, birthdays and the like. Keyword phrases that include the word “birthday cake” are likely to come up with two broad categories of results: where to buy one or how to make one. Clearly in this case, the latter category is of no interest, so a negative keyword here would be “recipe.”

There are even simpler examples. A high-end travel and concierge company offering things like five star hotels, limousines and luxury yachts will be operating in the same competitive space as hundreds of other travel agents. Here, words like “cheap” or “bargain” would be excellent negative keywords to incorporate.

How to find negative keywords

The mechanism for finding negative keywords is not so different to when you are looking for ordinary ones. But before you go diving into the bowels of Google Adwords, take a step back and brainstorm the concept with colleagues. What are the businesses that operate in related but different spaces? Could you be mistaken for them by a child that takes every word literally? If so, what negative keywords can you identify that would clear up the mistake?

Armed with this preliminary information, you can venture into the search terms tab and see what other negative keywords it produces.

Entering negative keywords

Entering negative keywords is no different to entering regular ones on AdWords. Simply pull up the negative keywords tab (it’s right next to the normal keywords tab) and you can get to work keying them in.

As is the case with regular keywords, you can specify whether the negatives apply across your entire PPC campaign or just for individual ad groups. Also, like ordinary keywords, you have the facility to define exact, broad or phrase match for each one.


  1. Mike


    I like the comparison to explaining yourself to a literal minded child. Best to eliminate misunderstandings when you are paying to get those eyes on your campaign.

  2. Aamir Wisal


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  3. Bhagyashree


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    • jay


      I agree with you bhagyasharee . I think article is very effective . I am try to use at this article direction

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