planning negative keywords

Did you know that most Bing campaigns and Google Ads cost way more money than they need to?

As a result, advertisers can feel frustrated. They may even come to see their online efforts as fruitless. Can you relate?

Fortunately, there’s a simple technique that will help you narrow your audience so that your PPCs attract more qualified leads. As a result, your ad costs will come down and your ROI will skyrocket.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t.

How does it work? Simple. You need to start using negative keywords now.

But what if you don’t know how to use a search terms report to find negative keywords? Read on for a simple guide to negative keyword research.


Where to Start Researching Negative Keywords

Ideally, you want to have a solid negative keyword strategy in place before you even consider starting your next campaign. That way, you can make sure your ad budget gets spent in the right ways from the get-go.

Where do you find negative keywords? Begin with a simple brainstorming exercise. Think about words that have different meanings and how to avoid problems in your next campaign.

For example, you may wish to dump all nations except the US for your next American-based ad series. But don’t forget that Georgia’s both a state and an Eastern European nation. Think twice before making such a massive cut.  If you choose to remove states also remember to use their abbreviations.


Search Terms Report 101

The easiest place to start when it comes to finding negative keywords? With the search query report.

This helps you identify negative keywords you might otherwise miss–keywords that could cause your next campaign to hemorrhage money.

That said, Google and Bing vary when it comes to using search reports to identify irrelevant keywords and create negative keyword lists. Here’s what you need to know to find negative search terms on each site.


Google Search Term Reports

Log into your Google AdWords account and click on the “keywords” tab. Then, check the boxes next to the keywords that you’d like to search and hit the “search terms” button.

From there, you’ll get directed to the “search terms” tab, which will give you a full breakdown for your selected keywords. At this point, you can click on the “show all” link in order to check out details for all of your keywords.

Take a close look at the keywords to find ones that could prove misleading or attract individuals not interested in your products and services. Each time you find such a term, check it.

Once you’ve weeded out all the negative terms via Google search terms, hit the “add as negative keyword” button to finalize the deal.


Bing Search Term Reports

As for finding negative keywords in Bing Ads, start at the “reports” tab. There, you’ll want to find and select “search term” and then pick a date range. For the best results, go for a long-term range such as six months.

Ready for a helpful tip? Remember to only look at one account at a time if you have multiple accounts on Bing. Once you’ve chosen the right account, click on the “download” button.

Then, take a look at your “search term” column paying attention to any results that prove irrelevant to your products and services.

Don’t get overwhelmed! After all, you only need to focus on phrase search variants and broad search variants.

Once you’ve made a list of all these negative keywords, plug them into the shared negative list for your campaign. And voilà, you’re finished!


A Caveat on Google Ads

Whether working in Google AdWords or Bing, here’s an important caveat. Make sure your negative keyword selections don’t overlap with your actual keywords.

Why? If they do, your ads won’t show.

Fortunately, Microsoft AdCenter boasts an option that lets you check keyword conflicts. As for Google, get more info on how Google Ads processes such conflicts.


Rock Your PPCs with Negative Keywords

As you can see, it’s easy to identify negative keywords using a search terms report. Spending a little time on this step will save you tons of money down the road while ensuring your ads make a bigger splash.

Ready to learn more about negative keywords? Check out our ultimate guide to negative keyword research.

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