Even if you’ve never developed an Adwords campaign, chances are you have a pretty good idea how Adword works.   If not, here’s AdWords 101 in two sentences:

AdWords works like an auction, and the way you get your ad in front of interested audiences is by bidding on keywords. If your bid is right and your ad is relevant, you stand a chance of showing up in the search results.   But how do you stop your ad from displaying when you know the audience isn’t interested or will not result in a potential lead?  Through the use of negative keywords.

While conventional keywords trigger your ads to display for relevant searches, negative keywords prevent your ads from being triggered and displayed.  If someone searches on a phrase that contains any of your negative keywords, guess what?  The search networks will not show your ad and that means you will not be wasting money on useless clicks that don’t result in sales.

Why is this important?

Negative keywords tell Google what search queries are not relevant to your business, so you don’t rack up ad impressions for searches that won’t lead to sales. By forgetting to add negative keywords to your campaign, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars per month in unqualified leads to your business.”

Believe it or not, research indicates almost half of advertisers don’t add a single negative keyword to their accounts over the course of a month missing the mark on maximizing the effectiveness of their PPC spend.  That’s a lot of wasted budget dollars spent on ineffective advertising.  Put that extra cash where it can benefit you the most, on the best and most effective keywords for your particular ad campaign.

How to Identify Negative Keywords

How do you identify negative keywords? A website called, Wordstream, has compiled a full list of seventy-five words that they say everybody implementing an Adword campaign should include in their negative keyword list.

You can also identify negative keywords using the AdWords Keyword Planner but you will need to have a Google account and password. While the AdWords Keyword Planner is meant to identify keywords to bid on, it can also give you negative keyword ideas. Let’s give it a shot to see what I mean.

Let’s say we own an online company that sells Kona coffee.

When you search for a term like “kona coffee,” you’ll see a list of related keyword searches along with some search volume and competition data.


This method can yield some solid results. You’ll probably want to add “wholesale coffee,” to your negative keyword list because you don’t sell wholesale coffee so why advertise for it?  You’ll see that Kona Plantation had nine specific keyword search terms used.  Let’s see what they are.


You don’t offer tours and you don’t have a plantation for sale so these keywords don’t apply.  Again, why waste your advertising dollars on these keywords?  Add them to your negative keyword list and your company won’t be included for any of the negative keywords you’ve specified for your Adword campaign.

Keep a running list of negative keywords into a file so you can easy upload them to your Adword campaign. It’s an easy way to start saving some money!