What are Negative Keywords?

The definition of negative keywords and how negative keywords can be used effectively to optimize SEM campaigns in AdWords and Analytics.

The definition of negative keywords

Negative keywords, or negatives, are keywords or phrases that you don’t want your advertisements to be associated with. This can be for a number of reasons.

For instance, a search engine marketing agency that is looking for clients in Toronto, might want to use negative keywords such as “Vancouver” or “Montreal”, as they are less likely to lead to a sale. When using the right negative keywords, the search advertising campaign won’t be triggered when someone searches on another city but “Toronto” or “GTA”.

Or, an online shop that specialises in hockey, might want to use “field hockey” as a negative keyword.

AdWords professionals often use lists with generic negative keywords in order to avoid being shown on less relevant keywords. This leads to less waste impressions, a higher CTR and Quality Score (QS) and, ultimately, to higher ad positions and lowered click prices.

One of the most popular list of negative keywords is a list of countries, as this will effectively block advertisements being shown as a response to searches referring to irrelevant countries.

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