Google AdWords Negative Match – Using It Properly?

September 3rd, 2008 by Kristie McDonald

It is important to understand Google’s Negative Matching features in order to best refine your searches.

The negative match feature in Google ensures that your ads do not show when the search term entered includes certain keywords or phrases.  Google AdWordsFor example, one of the most common negative keywords we use is “free”.  If you are selling a new video game, chances are you are not going to want to appear when a user types in “free video games”.  In order to guarantee that you don’t show up for that phrase, you should include “free” as a negative keyword.

Similar to Google’s regular match types, you can include a negative keyword and select a match type of negative broad, negative exact or negative phrase.  With proper PPC Management extremely important to understand these match types so that you do not accidentally prevent your ads from showing on important keywords.

Negative Exact Match
When you select negative exact match, your ad will not show if the search term matches this keyword phrase exactly.  Nothing before, after or in the middle.

This match type is particularly useful if a subset of your important keyword phrase would not be appropriate.

With the video game example, we may decide to include the keyword phrase video game in our campaign, but we might add “video” as a negative exact match so that we do not show up for any searches on just the word “video”.

Negative Phrase Match
When you select negative phrase match, your ad will not show if the search term contains the keyword phrase in the proper order.

For example, if you have a negative phrase match keyword of “video camera” and a user enters the search term of “buy a video camera”, your ad will not show.  However, if they enter “camera with video”, your ad could show.

Negative Broad Match
When you select negative broad match, your ad will not show if the search term matches or contains the keyword phrase in any order and if the search term is a synonym or considered relevant to the phrase.

This, of course, is very vague and negative broad match should be use very, very carefully.

When we use broad match on a keyword phrase, we run the risk of showing our ad on a search term that is not really relevant, despite what the Google algorithm thinks.  But we are able to see the actual results in the search query report and make adjustments to the account.

However, when we use negative broad match, we run the much higher risk of our ad NOT showing for a search term that really would have been relevant.

And I never want my clients to be “missing” when their potential customers are looking for them!

Learn how to use these match types properly to make sure your ads are showing at the right time and not showing when they would be irrelevant.

Back to Blog Home