Negative Keywords in SEO

negative keywords

One of the most important SEO elements is using negative keywords. Negative keywords are words and phrases you don’t want your content to show up for when a user searches a query. It can help you ensure you only appear in search results for relevant and high-quality content.

Negative keywords are search terms that you specify so that your ads or content don’t appear in search engine results when someone uses those terms. Understanding how negative keywords work and how to use them effectively can help you improve your website’s rankings, reduce your marketing budget, and maximize your ROI.

Negative Keywords in Your SEO Strategy

Negative keywords are a crucial aspect of any effective SEO strategy. By identifying and excluding irrelevant keywords, you can improve the relevance and quality of your website traffic, leading to better conversion rates and ROI. Neglecting negative keywords can lead to wasted ad spend and lower performance in search results. Make sure to incorporate negative keywords into your SEO campaigns for optimal results.

The SEO strategy stops your online ad from getting triggered through a targeted option (or PPC match type) given by many search engine ad networks like Google Adverts and allows you to selectively filter which visitors see your adverts based on their queries.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Negative Keywords

Take caution when selecting your negative keywords. Your ads may reach fewer clients if you overuse negative keywords. Because negative keywords don’t match closely related terms, your advertisement may still appear on searches or sites with closely related negative keyword terms. Here are some of the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Negative Keywords:

1. If Negative Keywords That Conflict With Bidded Keywords Are Not Checked

You might not realize that a negative term you added conflicts with a keyword being bid on if you manage an account with many campaigns. Additionally, it indicates that a keyword you are bidding on will not have an ad appear because of your negative keyword.

Therefore, you might want to review your current keyword list as well before adding new keywords as negative keywords.

2. Not Consulting The Standard List Of Negative Keywords

Adding negative keywords might be rather taxing when we are managing many campaigns. This manual labor forces us to make errors. A negative keyword list makes it easy to transfer negative keywords between campaigns. All of the keywords that you want to exclude should go there.

3. Not Choosing Proper Negative Keywords Match Type –

Match types make comprehending how the negative keyword should stop unrelated search terms easier. It is crucial to regularly review your search queries to determine which match type is efficient. You can fine-tune your match type and analyze your campaign’s effectiveness with a search query report.

How to Identify Negative Keywords for Your SEO Campaigns

Identifying negative keywords is an ongoing process and should be continuously monitored and adjusted as needed to ensure the most effective use of your advertising budget. Below are various effective ways to identify irrelevant keywords that may be wasting your advertising budget:

  1. Before you start your research for negative keywords, it’s crucial to establish who your target audience is. This will help you determine which terms are related to your target audience and what type of traffic you want to avoid.
  2. Research the industry and related terms associated with your products and services. You should avoid bidding on keywords casually linked to your sector but irrelevant to your industry.
  3. Google’s Search Console can offer you important data on the keywords used to reach your website. This information can be used to find keywords driving traffic that may not be appropriate for your company.
  4. Monitor your competitors and the terms they are bidding on. This might allow you to find potential negative keywords that could be used to minimize your competitors’ position in search results.
  5. There is a wide range of keyword research tools accessible that can allow you to uncover potential negative keywords. These tools can provide you with a list of terms with a low search volume and are unlikely to generate traffic for your website.

Different Types of Negative Keywords

It’s essential to understand the differences between these types of negative keywords in order to implement them in your SEO strategy effectively. Three types of negative keywords can be used in SEO campaigns, and they include the following:

1) Exact match negative keywords:

You can exclude your ad from searches using the exact keyword phrase—without any other words—by using an exact match keyword. If extra words are added to the keyword phrase, your advertisement may still appear in related searches.

2) Broad Match Negative Keywords:

Adding broad match negative keywords to your campaigns will stop your advertisements from appearing when people search for those terms. They are entered with a minus sign (-) in front of them and instruct Google Ads not to display your advertisement when a user’s search query contains that word (or a closely related variation). For instance, you can include “-running” as a Broad Match Negative Keyword if your keyword is “shoes,” and you want to make sure that your ad does not appear when someone searches for “running shoes.”

3)  Phrase Match Negative Keywords:

They are Negative keywords that you put in your campaigns to stop searches that contain those specific words or phrases in any sequence from triggering your adverts. For instance, if you were running a campaign for a car dealership, you could include the word “used car” as a Negative Phrase Match Keyword to ensure that your advertisements don’t appear when someone searches for that word.

Negative Keyword Research Tools and Techniques

One of the keys to a successful negative keyword strategy is conducting thorough research. Luckily, several tools and techniques are available to make the process easier.

Google Ads Keyword Planner is one popular tool to help identify negative keywords. By searching for keywords related to your business, you can see which phrases or terms people are searching for and then add negative keywords to your list accordingly.

Another technique is to use search query reports, which provide insight into the exact search terms people used when they clicked on your ads. This can help identify irrelevant search terms that you can add to your negative keyword list.

Consider using competitor research tools to see your competitors’ negative keywords. This can give you valuable insights into which keywords to avoid, saving time and money.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Negative Keyword Strategy

Regularly monitor and adjust your negative keyword strategy to ensure it effectively filters out unwanted traffic. Review your search term reports and make adjustments as necessary. Consider adding new negative keywords and removing ones that may be too broad. Remember that your negative keyword strategy should be dynamic and adaptable to changes in search behavior and trends.

Use analytics tools to track your performance and identify any areas of improvement. Regularly test different negative keyword combinations to find the most effective ones. Don’t be afraid to make changes, but make sure you’re measuring their impact and adjusting accordingly.

Maximizing Your ROI with Effective Negative Keyword Strategies

By using negative keywords strategically, you can eliminate irrelevant search traffic and focus on attracting more qualified leads to your website. This ultimately leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) for your SEO campaigns.

Find out what keywords and negative keywords your competitors use by researching their methods. This can offer insightful information about targeting your audience and effectively streamlining your efforts. You can quickly find new keywords to add to your list of negative keywords by looking at search query reports in AdWords and Bing Ads.

Different match types require various negative keyword techniques. To avoid irrelevant traffics, you should add more general negative keywords for broad match keywords. To prevent searches with more particular criteria, you can want to include more precise negative keywords for exact match keywords.

Automate the process of adding and eliminating negative keywords with automation solutions like AdWords Scripts. Automation tools can also monitor your ads and notify you when any keywords are underperforming or driving unrelated traffic.


Negative keywords may not seem like the most glamorous aspect of SEO, but they are essential to any successful campaign. By identifying and incorporating negative keywords into your strategy, you can avoid wasting money on irrelevant clicks, improve your click-through rates, and ultimately increase your ROI.

Remember to continually monitor and adjust your negative keyword strategy to remain effective and relevant. Don’t let negative keywords hold your SEO back – take control of your campaign today.
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