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This week one of my email subscribers sent me a message asking me what negative keywords are.

That’s a great question! A lot of people don’t even realise that that functionality exists until they have a professional work on their Google Ads or they do a bit of research into it.

Essentially with Google Ads, you have two types of search keywords.

You have the “good” keywords where you’re looking for people who are typing these specific words into Google. Then you have “negative” keywords which are keywords that indicate that you really DON’T want to be advertising to that person because you’re likely to be wasting your money if you pay for that person to click on your ad.

For example, let’s say you’re selling hand-made baskets. You might have the word “basket” as a good keyword that you are looking for. But that has now opened you up to so many people typing in searches that include the word basket, many of which you don’t want to target.

So if you are a hand-made basket retailer you definitely don’t want to be targeting “ecommerce shopping basket software”. Those people are looking for a totally different solution to a totally different problem.

If you’re going to be paying anywhere from 50c to $5 or even more in some industries for a person to come to your website, then you want to be careful to exclude the randoms who aren’t a suitable buyer of your product or service. I’ll talk about how to do it in this video:



Now, if you’re working with a good Google Ads management service then they will look through all the search terms for people coming to your website and periodically add new terms to your negative keywords list if those keywords are not resulting in good outcomes on your website.

There will be obvious examples, like the baskets described above, but often there will be not-so-obvious examples where a user is in a research phase of his or her buying cycle and just isn’t ready to be a customer yet. In those cases whether or not to include it as a negative keyword depends on your customer acquisition strategy.

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Claudia Impedovo Brand Manager at Spendless Shoes Ecommerce Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager & Google Data Studio Integration April 23, 2020

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Charles Marois CEO, Olsa Tools Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

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Nadia Rossi Digital Marketing at 1834 Hotels Ecommerce / Hotel Google Ads April 23, 2020

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Leesa Dawson CEO, The Uniform Stylist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

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Erica Stacey Scout Digital Marketing Strategy Session June 21, 2017