Common Google Ads Negative Keywords Mistakes

Utilizing negative keywords is essential to the success of any Google Ads campaign. These keywords help to ensure your ads aren’t showing for search queries that are irrelevant to your business. There’s nothing worse than spending advertising dollars on totally unrelated traffic.

One example, from my own experience with negative keywords is related to a Honda dealership. This dealership did not sell Honda brand motorcycles or lawn mowers but only cars, so before starting the campaign we make those keywords negatives “motorcycle” & “lawn mower”. This saved the client from spending any unnecessary money on those looking to ride on two wheels or push four in the backyard.

Although negative keywords can be very useful, setting them up can be a pain. Below are some troubleshooting tips that can save money and time!

Troubleshooting Negative Keywords

  • If the negative keywords were set at the ad level group instead of campaign, they may not be applied to other ad groups. Make sure you’re setting the correct negative keywords to the correct campaign or ad group.
  • My top bit of advice for finding and adding negative keywords is to start with a search query review to understand what irrelevant queries are trigger your ad.
  • Check if your keywords were entered correctly (In regard to the match type). I would broad match the negative keywords – exact match won’t help here.
  • Have you setup Google Ads via Adwords Express? If that’s the case I’ve had clients that have done this but were not able to modify / fix anything without help from Google’s support team
  • Make sure you are not adding these negative keywords as exact match i.e. [free] (as mentioned above). Doing this will stop your ads from appearing only when someone searches exactly and only FREE as the search term.
  • If you need help getting started, I recommend Wordstream’s free negative keyword planner tool.
  • I also recommend a good Thesaurus to find other related words to those you’ve already identified as negatives.


1 Comment
  • Jan Zac
    Posted at 12:40h, 20 March Reply

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