PPC Tuesday – Ad Group Level Negative Keywords

By Matthew


Negative keywords are necessary in any PPC campaign to filter out poor quality traffic. By adding negative keywords we eliminate our ads from showing on irrelevant queries.

For example, I might bid on the phrase match of the term “baseball gloves” so my ad will show to those typing in variations of this phrase, such as “blue baseball gloves” or “baseball gloves for sale.” After running the keyword for a few days I run a search query report and see several searches for “free baseball gloves.” Since I’m not giving away free baseball gloves I make “free” a negative keyword so my ads will not showing for this query.

To add “free” as a negative keyword I click the “Keywords” tab in the specific campaign to which I want to add the negative. At the bottom of the page is a drop down link entitled “Negative keywords.” To the right you will see a column for “Campaign level.” By clicking “Add keywords” you can enter your negative keyword.

Negative keyword research does not end at the campaign level as we still need to make sure the right keywords trigger their respective ads.

Let’s say our “baseball gloves” keyword is part of an ad group also called “baseball gloves.” The landing page for this ad group shows a general inventory of all baseball gloves. We also have an ad group called “catchers baseball gloves” where the landing page only shows catchers gloves. If someone searches for “catchers baseball gloves” we want to send that user to the more specific landing page. Since we are bidding on the phrase match of “baseball gloves” there is a chance the less specific ad would show for a query of “catchers baseball gloves.” How do we ensure the right ad shows?

The answer is quite simple. We add “catchers” as a negative keyword in the “baseball gloves” ad group.

Similarly to adding negative keywords at the campaign level, we click to the individual campaign, but then click on the specific ad group. At the bottom of the page is the “Negative keywords” drop down link. Once clicked, we then focus on the left hand column, “Ad group level.” We add our ad group level negative keyword and ensure a search for “catchers baseball gloves” will always show the correct ad.

To make sure the right keywords trigger the correct ads you can do a test yourself or view the search query report in AdWords available at the campaign and ad group level. This report will show you all search queries and which ad groups showed the ads. To access this report click the “Keywords” tab. Below the graph you will see a button that says “See search terms.” Click this button and select all. You will then see all of the queries and corresponding triggered ad groups.