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Negative Keywords: Definition, Types, and How to Find Them

Last updated: Jun 12, 2023

What Is a Negative Keyword?

A negative keyword is the opposite of what we call a positive keyword. This is the type of keyword that shouldn't be used in digital marketing activities, particularly in ads.

Some of these keywords are used to effectively eliminate the possibility of displaying ads on irrelevant searches. That way, search engines will not display ads with certain keywords.

Types of Negative Keywords

In its use, there are several types of the keywords that can be used. Here are some of them:

1. Broad Match Keywords

Broad-match keywords will avoid serving ads on irrelevant keywords, regardless of word order. For example, the broad-match keywords used are "sandals". These ads won't appear for keywords like "sandals sneakers."

2. Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase-match keywords will avoid showing ads on irrelevant keywords, but only if the keywords appear in a certain order.

For example, the use of the phrase "children's shoes". Ads with these keywords won't show on searches with the phrase "kids sports shoes", but may appear if the

3. Negative Exact Match Keywords

Negative exact-match keywords will avoid showing ads for irrelevant exact keywords. For example, an ad that uses negative exact match keywords with the phrase "women's shoes". 

These ads won't appear on searches with the phrase "women's shoes" or "cheap women's shoes."

How Does a Negative Keyword Benefit You?

The use of this certain type of keyword has various benefits for SEO as well as paid ads. Following are some of the benefits:

1. Finding the Target Audience

A negative keyword can be used to target more precise and detailed customer segments. More precise and detailed customers can lead to higher conversions and increased profits.

2. Save Marketing Budget

Using ads will make a business lose a lot of money if there are wasted clicks. These wasted clicks usually come from ads displayed on irrelevant searches.

However, you can avoid such a scenario by using a negative keyword. Plus, these keywords can save on marketing budgets, create a higher chance of being shown on relevant searches, and result in higher conversions.

3. Increase CTR

Adding a negative keyword to your ads will reduce the chances of disinterested impressions. This condition can increase the percentage of visitors who click on ads, commonly known as the CTR (click-through rate).

4. Reduce Bounce Rate

Users tend to leave the website immediately if they realize that they have not found what they are looking for. This condition can create a high bounce rate.

Websites with a high bounce rate have a difficult time getting a good SEO score.

In this case, this particular type of keyword can be used to help the website avoid irrelevant search queries

5. Increase Google Relevance

Using such keywords can help provide a good user experience. User experience itself is one of the factors considered by Google to determine a website's relevancy. The higher a site's relevance to Google, the higher it will rank on the SERP.

How to Find a Negative Keyword

Finding relevant and effective negative keywords is an important step for optimizing ads. Here are some ways to search for them:

1. Google Search

Searching for this type of keyword can be done manually on Google Search. This method can be done by entering the desired keyword to see other related keywords that are less relevant.

Usually, these less relevant keywords will display unrelated ads, videos, or links on the search page. Then, record these keywords and add them to the list of keywords you deem negative.

2. Keyword Research

Keyword research will give a picture of the language of the target audience, including the words and phrases they use when searching for content, products, or services. Add the targeted keyword during this analysis process.

3. Search Term Report Analysis

Search Term Report is a feature of Google Ads that is used to see keyword performance. The Search Term Report will provide views and insights on new keywords that are being missed.

In addition, it will identify negative keywords that do not have the desired search intent.

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