Everything You Need to Know About Using Negative Keywords

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly important over the years. This is mainly because the internet has slowly but surely secured its place as one of the most important tools when it comes to marketing in the digital age. This is why businesses have continued to seek out digital marketing and SEO companies to help them maximize their digital presence.

While most SEO strategies are concerned with using keywords, there’s another way you can approach online optimization. This comes in the form of negative keywords. Considering how useful and effective negative keywords can be, it’s a shame that not a lot of people actually know about what they are and how to use them. To help change this, we thought it would be useful to put together a brief explainer on this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in, read on as we discuss everything you need to know about using negative keywords!

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are search terms within paid search advertising wherein you don’t want your advertisements to be displayed. We understand that this may still sound confusing so let us give you an example:

If you’re advertising for “basketballs” you don’t want to target people looking to purchase “volleyballs”. For cases like this, you will want to include “volleyballs” in your list of negative keywords.

While this may seem like a trivial change, it will make a huge difference as it allows you to more accurately reach your target audience. The point of SEO is to expand your reach and make you more visible but it’s also important to be visible to the right people.

How to Use Negative Keywords?

It’s important to note that there is more than one way to use negative keywords. To help you gain a better understanding of this, here are the most effective ways to utilize negative keywords in your online marketing campaigns.

The most obvious use of negative keywords is that they allow you to only target audiences that are relevant to your product or service. Considering that paid searches operate on a pay-per-click basis, this will help you reduce marketing costs while increasing your overall click-through rate.

Negative keywords also allow you to target the highest converting audience to your product or service. There are times wherein users will be searching for things that are related to your product or service but include terms that make your product less relevant. Common cases of this include users adding keywords that emphasize the price of a service or product such as “free”, “cheap”, and “affordable”. Depending on the nature of your business, this may not be applicable to you so you’ll want to include those terms in your negative keyword list so that you’ll only target users that have the highest likelihood for conversion.

Lastly, negative keywords allow you to manage your public relations. There are simply some keywords that you don’t want to be associated with. This is why it’s in your best interest to include these terms in your negative keyword list.

How to Build a Strong Negative Keyword List?

Coming up with a negative keyword list is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is to use Google AdWords, or whatever platform you use to manage your campaigns, and view the search terms section. From there, select keywords that are not relevant to your product and service and add them as a negative keyword.


We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you improve your digital marketing campaigns. While they aren’t as talked about as keywords, remember that negative keywords are just as important to your marketing efforts. Be sure to constantly update your negative keyword list to make sure that you’re only targeting the highest quality leads. 

Magnitude Marketing is Greenwood’s top online digital marketing services and SEO optimization agency. We create custom SEO strategies based on our client’s needs and goals to help their business grow.