A Free Resource to Negative Nirvana

Do You Know What You Don’t Want?

negative keywords

Most times it’s easier to figure out what you want instead of what you don’t want. Let’s say you go into Starbucks, ready to try a Blueberries & Crème Frappuccino.

Now when you order, you don’t say, “Well, I want one of your fine beverages, but I don’t want an Espresso, Vanilla Latte, White Iced Tea” and so on. You simply order what it is you want. There’s no need to consider all the things you don’t want.

Well, if only PPC were that easy. In the PPC world there can be an almost endless variety of ways your potential customers can describe your products in a search phrase.

Fortunately, you can simplify that task by choosing to bid some of your terms using “broad match” which will display your ad for all search phrases that include your keyword.

However, using broad match without adding the right negative keywords is like drinking a lot of Blueberries & Crème Frappuccino’s without getting any exercise. They both have very undesirable consequences.

The Largest Free Collection of Negativity

The Engine Ready team has put together a valuable resource to help you quickly build your negative keyword list, by compiling a list of common terms, which in most cases can and should be used as negative keywords for most companies. We’ve provided the list in a .txt format, so you can easily copy and paste the listings into your Google, YSM and MSN accounts.

You can download the negative keyword list here.

You’ll want to review the list carefully before applying them to your campaigns. There may be some words on our list that are actually desirable for your business or may even describe your products or services.

We’ve broken out our list of 420 negative keywords by major vertical, along with a list of general negative keywords that should work well for any industry.

Since When Do Animals Write?

Along with our free negative keyword list, your web analytics are a prime source of negative keyword information. Here you can find the phrases your visitors searched on that led to a visit to your site. You can then determine which of these phrases are not related to your products and add them to your campaigns as negative keywords.

In a previous newsletter Wrong Keywords May Be Hazardous To Your Health, we described the example of a company that sold promotional logo pens that bid broad match on the term “pens” without any negative keywords.

By researching their analytics we found that they had received traffic for, and paid for phrases such as baby play pens, animal pens and dog pens.

By adding those words as negative keywords, we were able to prevent their ads from showing for products the company didn’t sell.

More Paths to Negative Nirvana

Finally, here are 3 more useful resources for building out your negative keyword list:

  • Organic Listings - Type in your keyword phrase into Google and review the organic listings for words that don’t describe your products or services. For example, if you sold barbeques, search on the word “barbeque” and you’d see dozens of negative keywords in the first 10 listings including recipes, steaks and sauce.
  • Competition - Visit your competitor’s sites and note any products or services that you don’t offer. If for instance you only sell natural colored cowbells, you might find that your competitor offers them in blue, green and red. From that information, you can add those color words as negative keywords.
  • Use the Google Keyword Tool with “Use Synonyms” box checked. If you sell every type, brand, size and color of luggage and luggage accessories available, you might think you don’t need negative keywords. However, this tool would have shown you that someone searching on “luggage car racks” would have prompted your ad to appear.

And, if your ad was not specific enough, like the one below, you might end up paying for that traffic.

Luggage - Up to 80% Off

Everything luggage. Shop the finest luggage and accessories, quick shipping.

The Engine's Rules on Negative Keywords

Here's a table that shows you how the major PPC search engines allow you to setup your negative keywords. Note that MSN does not put a limit on the number of keywords. Instead the number of characters of all your negative keywords cannot exceed 1,022 characters.

Levels Google Yahoo MSN
Account n/a 250 n/a
Campaign no limit n/a 1,022 characters
Ad Group no limit 250 n/a
Keyword n/a n/a 1,022 characters

With Engine Ready's list of negative keywords, it's time to stop wasting your marketing budget attracting unqualified visitors. Do the research outlined above and use Engine Ready’s free listing of negative keywords and watch your CPA improve immediately.

And while you’re at it, since this can be long and arduous undertaking, you might want to go pick up a Blueberries & Crème Frappuccino to help keep you alert.



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