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What Are Negative Keywords?

As a PPC advertiser, improving your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and reducing your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) are two essential elements to make your campaigns successful. Negative Keywords can help you achieve both by maximizing the relevance of your ads and minimize the unwanted clicks that drain your budget.

Negative Keywords are specific terms or phrases that tell search engines not to display your ad for a particular query. In other words, they help advertisers exclude their ads from showing up in irrelevant search queries that are unlikely to turn into conversions.

For example, if you sell premium smartphones, you might want to exclude your ads from appearing for searches related to cheap, budget mobile phones, since people searching for those terms are unlikely to buy your products.

How Do Negative Keywords Work?

Most PPC platforms like Google Ads use broad match type by default, which means that your ads will display for any search query that contains your target keywords—regardless of its relevance to your business.

For instance, if you bid on the keyword “mobile phone,” your ad may appear in the search results for queries like “mobile phone repair,” “mobile phone deals,” and “mobile phone app development.”

However, by adding negative keywords, you can restrict your ads from showing up in the irrelevant searches that burn your budget without generating valuable clicks.

Continuing with the previous example, you can add the negative keyword “cheap,” “free,” “used,” or “old” to your campaign to exclude your ads from searches such as “cheap mobile phone” or “free used mobile phone.”

The Importance of Negative Keywords in PPC Advertising

Using Negative Keywords not only reduce your advertising cost and wasted clicks but also enables advertisers to craft their ads towards more specific and relevant audiences.

When you eliminate irrelevant clicks by adding negative keywords, you increase the chances of your ad to appear in front of people who are likely to make a purchase. The result is fewer impressions, lower cost-per-click, and higher click-through-rates (CTR).

Additionally, Negative Keywords can improve the ad quality score, which is a critical factor that determines the ad’s ad rank and cost-per-click. The relevance of your ads to the user search query plays a significant role in your ad ranking, and negative keywords help to emphasize that relevance.

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