Negative Keywords for AdWords Campaigns

Every AdWords campaign should start with a negative keyword list. These are words you never want to have trigger your ad. But even planning ahead, you will still find words you did not think of which is why you want to monitor the search terms report. Rather than adding those search terms list to individual ad groups or campaigns, add them to a negative keyword list in your account (see above image) – assuming those terms are not relevant to anything in your AdWords account.

I’ve shared my complete negative keyword list at the bottom of this post with tips for creating your own. To give credit where it’s due, I started my negative keyword list with a post on TechWyse.

I added to that list over the years for different clients and recently downloaded and combined those lists. I did a little clean-up, removing words that might identify my clients, but even with clean-up, the list as of now has almost 700 words. What? 700?

I agree – it’s a lot of words and reading is like reading a dictionary. Skim it instead. You may pick up themes that are related to your AdWords account or at least be amused at some of the terms that have popped up in my accounts over time. Feel to work from it to create your own.

To add to your list, think about negative keywords in terms of categories. For example, the TechWyse post has keywords categorized by the below groups.

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Research & Information

Some other themes I suggest are below.

  • Countries/States/Cities – Even if you target a specific location in AdWords, you may still want to exclude some of these.
  • Numbers – If there are specific searches with numbers that are irrelevant to your business. For example, I have a client that hosts birthday parties but not for babies, so after seeing searchers for “1-year old birthday” and “2-year old parties”, I excluded those numbers from the account
  • Coupons/Discounts/Promos/Deals – Although you may offer these and make it prominent on your site, it’s generally not traffic you want to pay for.
  • Directions/Jobs/Login – Look at the pages on your site for traffic you do not want to pay for, such as a log-in page for existing clients or directions to your office.

Whatever approach you take, remember that negative keywords are important from the day you set up your AdWords campaign for the life of the campaign. I guarantee there will be keywords in your search terms report that you never imagined!