The Ultimate Negative Keyword List (400+ Keywords to Use Now)
[This post was originally published on July 20, 2022 and updated on June 20, 2023]
Negative keywords are an extremely important part of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
By adding negative keywords to your ad campaign, you ensure that your ads are only shown to people who are actually interested in what you’re selling. You can effectively filter out irrelevant traffic and see an almost immediate improvement in your Quality Score, ad performance and ROAS.
But finding the right negative keywords can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 400 negative keywords that you can add to your campaigns today.
Just copy and paste the list into your Google Ads account and you’ll instantly improve your campaign’s performance.
Also, definitely take a look at our list of 280+ spammy made-for-advertising websites, if you haven’t already. You can add these to your site exclusion list in Google Ads to ensure your banner ads don’t run on any of them and kill your performance.
What are negative keywords?
Negative keywords are words or phrases that you add to your advertising campaigns so that your ad won’t appear when people include those terms in their search. That way, you avoid paying for clicks from users who aren’t interested in what you’re selling.
For example, let’s say you sell video games. You would want to reach users that search for “play video games” and similar search phrases such as “play video games online now” but you probably want to exclude “play video games for free” or “get a job in video games.” In this case “free” and “job” (phrase match) are great terms to add to your negative keyword list since the users don’t intend to spend any money with you.
For more advanced marketers, you can also add negative keywords at the ad group level too. Ad groups are a way to organize your keywords into small, more manageable groups. So if you have an ad group for “role playing” video games, you should then add the negative keyword “fighting” video games to that entire ad group. That way, your ads don’t have a chance to overlap ad groups and complicate your performance data.
The benefits of adding negative keywords to your campaigns
Adding negative keywords is an essential part of any pay-per-click campaign and there are several key benefits:
- The keywords you’re buying are often too broad; adding negative keywords ensures your ads are only shown to people who are actually interested in what you’re selling.
- It helps you filter out unqualified clicks and impressions such as those not looking to buy anything.
- It can help you improve your campaign’s overall performance. Every click matters as keywords can be very expensive (Read more: The most expensive Google Ads keywords)
So if you’re not already using negative keywords, be sure to add the list below to your campaigns today.
The ultimate list of 400 negative keywords
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 400 negative keywords grouped into categories. Just add these to your Google Ads account as phrase match types (using quotes), and you’ll instantly improve your campaign’s performance.
The list is organized into categories to make it easier for you to find the right keywords for your campaign.
This list includes all of these keywords (in phrase match):
Bargain hunters can ruin your return-on-investment (ROI) by avoiding your regular priced products.
Unless you’re actively running ads to hire for job roles, avoid having your ads appear for job seekers.
looking for work
These users are often more thrifty with their budgets and would rather make them at home for cheap than buy them online.
do it yourself
how can I
how do I
how to make
Users searching for these terms are often too high in your purchase funnel and can require high touch before converting.
Consumers searching for used and second-hand items are typically bargain/coupon shoppers.
Academic, Certification, Training, Education, Schools & University
These users are looking for learning materials rather than shopping. Naturally if you sell books or education guides, then you should leave these out of your negative keyword list.
Price & Quotes
If your product pricing is cheaper than your competitors, then go ahead and target these keywords, otherwise add them to your negative keyword list.
This category is a bit challenging. Developers are often looking for free code libraries on the web or tools to help them build software. But this may be a good target for enterprise software companies so be sure to review these carefully before adding.
Manufacturers & Industrial
This is often related to “DIY” in that the consumers are thrifty and would prefer to make items themselves.
Similar to “Researchers,” these users are soft shoppers that are very early in the purchase process.
Consumers looking for specific file types aren’t great shoppers either, unless your business offers stock photography and the like.
Users looking for advertising programs aren’t looking to buy your products, but will instead click on your ads looking to promote your products.
As a rule of thumb, targeting users searching for lawsuits or regulatory issues around your product keywords isn’t a good idea.
Often users searching on these sites are looking for second-hand products or simply socializing online.
How to add negative keywords to Google Ads
Adding negative keywords to your campaign is a great way to improve its overall performance. Here’s how to add this list to your Google Ads campaigns:
Next, create a list by selecting the icon shown,. Then paste these keywords into the area shown, title the list (such as “General Keyword List”) and save it.
Lastly, you’ll want to assign the list you just created to each campaign. To do this, select “All Campaigns” and then “Negative Keywords” (inside the “Keywords” tab) and follow the instructions noted on page.
By following these steps, you can add negative keywords to your campaign and see an immediate improvement in its performance.
Other free ways to optimize your ad campaigns
Here’s several other resources from our editors that are free and can help you reduce your ad waste and improve your campaign results:
- Remove wasteful Made-for-Advertising (MFA) sites from your display campaigns
- Add a “honeypot” to your lead forms to identify fake lead sources.
- Get a refund from Google Ads from potential invalid clicks you may have purchased.
- Start a free 7-day trial of our core click fraud protection service to prevent bots and other malicious sources from clicking your ads.
Negative keywords are a powerful tool for all PPC advertisers. The ultimate goal is not just to increase traffic, but to attract the right kind of traffic that’s most likely to convert. With these 400 negative keywords, you can significantly improve your ad performance, reduce wasteful spend and increase your ROI.
Remember to regularly review and update your negative keywords list to ensure that your PPC campaigns remain effective and relevant. Happy optimizing!