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Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords [How to Think Like a Google Ads Agency]

Don’t waste your Google Ads spend on irrelevant keywords. It’s just as important to avoid bad search terms as it is to target the good ones.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

Google Ads has a concept called “Negative Keywords” which is where you can specify which keywords you *don’t* want to bid on. What I do is calculate the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) on every search word over time (all automated), so we can easily work out which words led to high ROAS and which words led to low ROAS. We set the low ROAS words as negative after enough clicks.


Are many of your Google Ads search terms people searching for you by name? Unless you have a very generic brand name, competitors bidding on your name, or poor SEO, you will want to limit your total spend on your brand name. Otherwise, Google will prefer “low hanging fruit” brand terms and this locks your budget away from generic terms that will generate new sales opportunities.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

To Implement a cap on brand name searches, you’ll want to create a negative keyword list containing your own brand name. Add a few terms with and without spaces so that you are confident you have captured them all. Then for any particular criteria, you can have one campaign with your own brand name excluded (apply the negative list) and another campaign where the CPC has been set much lower. This second campaign will allow people to see your ads when they type your brand name. i.e. the brand name negative list won’t be applied.

Doing this, you can get your brand name clicks down to only a few cents per click.

This works great because you can control the copy and extensions, unlike your Organic Search listing.

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