About negative keyword lists

If there are search terms that give you unwanted impressions or clicks across multiple campaigns, you can create a negative keyword list that includes those terms, then apply the list to relevant campaigns. This way you won’t have to manually add the same negative keywords to individual campaigns, and you can more easily manage future changes to negative keywords across campaigns. This article explains how negative keyword lists work.

Before you begin

If you’re not familiar with how negative keywords work, you can find out more in About negative keywords.

How it works

When you create a list of negative keywords, you exclude your ads from serving for certain terms that are irrelevant to your brand. This list makes it easier for your ads to reach your target audience, resulting in better conversions. For example, you own a sporting goods shop and you sell workout clothes. In this case, you can create a list of negative keywords that includes terms such as 'trousers' or 'blouses'.

Types of negative keywords

Account-level negative keywords

When you create your account-level list of negative keywords, it will automatically apply to all search and shopping inventory in relevant campaign types. This allows you to create a single, global, account-level list that applies negative keywords across all relevant inventory in your account.

You can create a single, account-level list of negative keywords in your Google Ads account settings. In your 'Account Settings', you’ll find the 'Negative keywords' section. When you click on this section, you can begin creating your negative keywords list.

You can create your list by defining which search terms are considered negative for your brand. You can then enter this all at once in the 'Negative keywords' section of your 'Account settings' in your Google Ads account. You can also specify whether you want to exclude these based on broad, exact or phrase match. A limit of 1,000 negative keywords can be excluded for each account. Learn more about account-level negative keywords

Campaign-level negative keyword lists

To build a negative keyword list, you’ll want to think of words that you don't want triggering your ads. You can use the search terms report to get ideas. You may also want to organise these words by themes, such as the different products or services that you offer. You can add up to 5,000 negative keywords per list and create up to 20 negative keyword lists in your account.


Once you create your negative keyword list, you can apply the list to multiple campaigns at once. Later, if you need to add a new negative keyword to those same campaigns, you can just add it to the negative keyword list and the change applies to all campaigns that share the list.

Example

Let's say that you run three separate campaigns for cruises, flights and hotels that you offer for Hawaii and Alaska, but not Mexico. You'd like to prevent your ads from showing to people looking for cruises, flights and hotels for Mexico. Here's what you can do:

  • Create a negative keyword list called 'Excluded Travel Destinations'.
  • Add negative keywords such as 'Mexican Riviera Cruises', 'Cancun hotels' and 'Flights to Mexico' to the list. You’ll want to include different variants of keywords related to Mexico, including specific regions and cities.
  • Apply the list to all three campaigns.

Bear in mind:

Negative keywords work differently for Display and Video campaigns than they do for Search. Depending on the other keywords or targeting methods in your ad group, some pages where your ad appears may occasionally contain excluded terms. For Display and Video ads, a maximum of 1,000 negative keywords at the account level is considered.

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