How to Use Negative Keywords to Help Your PPC Campaigns

April 5, 2008

Negative keyword options have been around for years, but not many advertisers use them to help ensure targeted traffic. This post is to help identify negative keywords, how to easily place them in both Google and Yahoo campaigns, and how to find new ones in your analytics program.

For anyone unfamiliar with negative keywords, these are the keywords that you do not want to show up in your PPC ads once users perform a search query. A few common starting ones are:

  • free
  • download
  • cheap
  • ebay

Basically, if you sell red staplers your ad can be blocked by users searching for “free red staplers”.

Finding additional negative keywords can be as easy as tracking your analytics. Whatever analytics you use, find what keywords that you’re getting traffic for that does not provide quality traffic and include them as negative keywords. The amount of these words you find can be amazing and they’re very easy to find. This can be updated on a weekly or monthly basis in as little as a few minutes.

AdWords Example

While finding negative keywords is easy, implementing them can be a bit tricker depending if you’re advertising on Google or Yahoo.

In Google, it’s pretty straightforward. You can go into your campaign, click on the “tools” tab and you’ll see the option that says “edit campaign negative keywords”.


Here is some more information on negative keywords, straight from Google.

Yahoo is a little more tricky. Once you log into your account and select a campaign, you can then click on an ad group. On the right site, you can see a blue box that says “ad group settings”. In the drop down, select “tactic settings”.


From there, you’ll see a box to show “excluded keywords” (negative keywords) and you can now implement them. Keep in mind this is done at the ad group level. Here is some newer information on excluded keywords, straight from Yahoo.

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