Selecting Negative Keywords for Your PPC Ads

Negative Keywords help decrease wasted ad impressions and spend.

In pay per click advertising, negative keywords prevent your ads from earning impressions from search queries containing those keywords. Negative keywords are a vital part of success for any PPC campaign in Google Ads and/or Bing by reducing wasted ad spend on irrelevant clicks. It’s a fact that many people are prone to click on the first result after making a search. Negative Keywords help prevent those clicks from ever happening. Before launching a campaign, business owners and marketers must brainstorm possibly irrelevant terms and phrases that must be added as negative keywords. For example, If you are a roofing contractor and want to bid on the broad or phrase match keyword “roofing contractor near me” I would add “supplies” to the Negative Keyword list. This would prevent someone searching “roofing contractor supplies near me” from showing your ad. There are many more negative keyword examples for this roofing client, and I usually try to add 50-100 negative keywords when building a campaign.

We've come up with a few ideas to come up with a complete negative keyword list to help you optimize your PPC campaign. Keep in mind that this list is only a starting point and may not be appropriate for all businesses. For example, If your company only works in one state, adding all other states to your negative keywords will benefit your campaign.

This guide entails an outline recommending best practices for selecting and applying negative keywords in your accounts.

Audience Demographics

These questions are for qualifying and ensuring that the correct advertisements appear for specific demographics. If you offer adult apparel, you may want to eliminate any keywords that pertain to clothing for babies, children, or teens. If you sell camping equipment, your negative keywords may include terms related to luxury travel or fancy accessories.

Cities and States

Your ads will trigger local searchers looking for products and services elsewhere if you're a local business using default AdWords settings. If a user is in New York and searches for "Chicago steak restaurant" in advance of a trip to Chicago, New York advertising will still appear. Make sure to consider this when setting keywords for your PPC ads.


An advertiser or PPC agency should focus on a specific country within a campaign. Exclude nations that your company does not service. Naturally, certain nations appear more frequently than others.

For Job Seekers

The internet is an excellent resource for those looking for employment, and there's a good chance that your content is related to industries where people seek work. It's best to prevent specific search keywords from activating your advertising unless your company is explicitly seeking applications.


Many people use search engines to get instructions to assemble, build, or troubleshoot the products that they buy. It may be best to filter these DIY keywords before they rack up per-click expenses, depending on your company goals and the material on your website.

Price Shopping

Although these phrases may indicate buying intent, likely, these people are simply browsing and not aiming to purchase anything at this time. Another thing to think about is that if you don't offer pricing information on your site, any visitor seeking specific prices will most likely be disappointed and may be counted as a bounce.


Most searchers that use keywords like "reference" are likely looking for information about your product. These might be top-of-funnel searches or people looking for information for a variety of reasons. These sorts of search searches, however, seldom convert in significant numbers.


Understanding how to add negative keywords to your campaign is critical, but the strategy that guides your decisions is even more crucial. Choosing the correct negative keywords for your campaigns and ad groups will boost the efficiency and profitability of your PPC account.

That PPC Guy is a PPC agency that helps business owners grow their brand and avoid wasted ad spend. We offer active campaign management powered by audience targeting and a focus on conversions. Contact us today!

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