Adding negative keywords to your Google AdWords campaign is a great way to improve the relevancy of your adverts in relation to a users search query, and can also have a positive impact on your campaign click through rate.

Negative keywords are essentially keywords which you do not wish to trigger your adverts when used as part of a search query. These keywords can be added to your AdWords account and applied to specific campaigns to prevent your ads from displaying for those terms.

It’s obviously important to research and discover the keywords for inclusion within your campaigns and to ensure that your adverts display for the products and services you provide, but it’s equally as important to research negative keywords. This post looks at some of the ways in which you can discover negative keywords and how to include them within your AdWords account.

Adding Negative Keywords To Your Campaigns

The most common and practical way to add negative keywords to an AdWords campaign is via the ‘Shared Library’. The shared library allows you to create organised lists of negative keywords and apply specific lists to specific campaigns.

AdWords Shared Library

Search Terms Report

The search terms report within AdWords is a great place to start discovering negative keywords for your campaign. This report contains some of the exact keywords and phrases which have triggered your adverts over a specified period of time. I make sure that I review this report regularly and add any unrelated phrases to my negative keyword list.

The search query report can be found by visiting the ‘Keywords’ area of your campaign and then selecting the ‘Search Terms’, ‘All’ option from within the ‘Details’ drop-down menu.

AdWords Search Terms Report

AdWords Keyword Planner

By entering the primary keywords that you wish to include within your campaign, the AdWords keyword planner may also return a few keywords which just aren’t relevant to your business offering.

AdWords Keyword Planner

Google Suggested Searches

Try using Google to search for your primary keywords, and take a look at some of the queries suggested. These queries will automatically pop up in the search bar…

Google Search Suggest

and further popular terms can also be located as links at the bottom of the search results page under the related searches heading…

Google Related Searches

Google Analytics Matched Search Queries

The matched search query report in Google Analytics allows you to see the search phrases that users typed into Google to trigger your paid AdWords keywords and can provide you with possible negative keywords for your AdWords campaign.

Matched Search Queries

Webmaster Tools Search Queries

Webmaster Tools is another great tool for discovering the queries for which your website displays for within organic listing – it can provide inspiration for negative keywords for AdWords campaigns.

WMT Search Queries

Thinking Outside Of The Box

You’d be surprised at some of the unrelated search terms I’ve seen trigger campaign adverts and sometimes you can’t beat at bit of good old fashioned brain power when it comes to discovering negative keywords. For example, I’ve witnessed a door manufactures adverts display for information searches relating to the film ‘Sliding Doors’, which then led me to search for a whole load of information on the film including its cast and soundtrack using IMB and Amazon.

I’ve also witnessed a skip hire company’s adverts appear for searches relating to Skips Crisps, leading me to discover all of the flavours they provide and apply these as negative keywords to a campaign just to be sure! – it’s often this out of the box thinking that leads to the discovery of valuable negative keywords.

There are several other ways in which negative keywords can be discovered, and if you have any other methods of researching them then please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Alternatively if you think that your campaign is in need of some negative keyword research, then take a look at the paid search marketing services which Hallam provide.

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