Negative keywords and their corresponding match types in Google Adwords are nothing new. But even after adding countless negative kw’s in countless ad groups/campaigns/accounts…  sometimes I still have to pause, reach out to those brain cells who have fought valiantly to still be there, and think about whether or not I’m attributing the appropriate match type to my negatives.

So we thought we’d put out our own little guide for folks to reference for a quick “oh yeah,” rather than, God forbid, you have to pause and think about it. So, without further ado…

There are 3 negative match types:

  1. Neg broad         negative keyword  (without punctuation)     
  2. Neg phrase     “negative keyword” in quotations
  3. Neg exact        [negative keyword] in brackets

These same match types are also available for regular keywords, but they work a little differently for negatives. This can be confusing. Hopefully these individual explanations will provide some clarity.

 

Negative Broad Match

Example negative broad match keyword: wedding photography

 The Rule: Ads within the ad group containing this negative keyword and match type will not be eligible to show for any search query containing wedding AND photography in ANY ORDER regardless of other words in the search query.

Negative broad match keyword: wedding photography
*Note that negative keywords don’t involve variations, ever.

 

Negative Phrase Match

Example negative phrase match keyword: “wedding photography”

The Rule: Ads within the ad group containing this negative keyword and match type will not be eligible to show for any search query containing wedding photography IN THAT ORDER AND TOGETHER.

Negative phrase match keyword: “wedding photography”

 

Negative Exact Match

Example Negative exact match keyword: [wedding photography]

The Rule: Ads within the ad group containing this negative keyword and match type will not be eligible to show for that exact search query – NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.

Negative exact match keyword: [wedding photography]

If that’s not enough colors for you, here’s a conceptual illustration of negative match types.

Negative keywords are essential to any PPC account. So now that we’ve got the negative match types straight, hopefully you can scratch your head a little less when adding them to your accounts. Keep in mind Google now lets you add negative keywords across whole accounts. Just make sure you apply specific negatives to individual campaigns and ad groups when it makes sense to do so. Try out different negative match types and see what works for you. Let us know if you have any comments or questions.

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