Negative Keyword Match Types – How and When to Use Them

negative keyword match typesIn this article we will be looking at the different negative keyword match types available in Google Ads.

Negative keywords are an extremely useful tool for managing your Google ads campaigns. Their main goal is to helps you filter out irrelevant terms, this stops you wasting money on traffic that is not relevant to your business.

Just like normal keywords in an account, Negative keywords use match types to control how specific, or broadly they are targeted.

In this article we will be looking at each negative keyword match type individually and showing how they can be used.

Broad Match Negative Keywords

As the name suggests this is the broadest of the negative keyword match types available in Google ads. By using this match type in your negative keyword, you are telling Google that a certain group of words should not trigger your ads. This will exclude the words if they are used in any order.

To demonstrate how this would work, we will use the example of tennis shoes.

By using a broad negative match, we are telling Google that the words tennis and shoes, should not appear in any search term that triggers our advert.

Below you can see a list of keywords that this specific broad negative could block.

  • Tennis shoes
  • Buy tennis shoes
  • Shoes for tennis
  • Best shoes for playing tennis
  • Tennis shoes with black and white design

As you can see, in each of these search terms both words are present. The order is not important, if they both appear in the search term it will not be shown.

So, what would this not block as a broad match negative?

Unlike a normal broad match, a negative broad match is slightly less “broad”. For example, if a search term contained either the words (tennis, or shoes) separately, this would not trigger the negative broad match. Both words must be present.

Also, unlike a normal broad match keyword, a negative broad will not affect close variants So if somebody searched tennis shoe, instead of tennis shoes this would not be blocked. This means singular and plural versions need to be targeted separately.

Phrase Match Negative Keywords

Phrase match negative keywords are very similar to normal phrase match keywords.

By using a negative phrase match, you are telling Google that the search term should be excluded when it appears in the exact order. This can include additional words before and after, however you cannot rearrange the order of the words or have words in between.

To demonstrate this, we will use the same example of tennis shoes.

Below you can see a list of keywords that this phrase match negative could block.:

  • Tennis shoes
  • Buy tennis shoes
  • Tennis shoes with black and white design

As you can see, tennis shoes appears in all three of the above examples. However, compared with broad negative match it is slightly more restricted and would not have stopped the following to terms:

  • Shoes for tennis
  • Best shoes for playing tennis

This is because the words tennis and shoes appear in a different order.

Exact Match negative keywords

The final version of negative keyword match types is Exact. This is the most specific way of blocking search terms from your account.

As the name suggests you are telling Google that you only want to block the exact term. This means that it will only block the exact keyword.

So, using our tennis shoes example, everything would trigger your ad, except the exact word tennis shoes.

Negative Keyword Match Types Conclusion  

After looking at all three negative keyword match type,s you can see that they all offer a certain level of control.

Each can be useful at different times and you should use a mixture of all 3 when adding negative keywords to your campaigns.

We should also mention, that as well as negative keyword match types, you can also choose the level of your account a negative keyword is assigned to.

This means that you can add negative keywords at the campaign level, or the ad group level.

Negative keywords are a vital part of any Google ads campaign. You should be starting every campaign with a strong list of negative keywords, including a variety of negative keyword match types and you should be continuing to add new negative keywords over time as you identify them in your account.

We hope you found this article on negative keyword match types useful. If you want to learn more about normal keyword match types. Check out our guide to keyword match types here

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