The Ultimate Negative Keyword List

ultimate negative keyword list

I have searched around the internet for the ultimate negative keyword list and to be honest I have been disappointed! There are a few negative keyword lists with 200 negative keyword suggestions offered, but I have failed to find any over 200 words or any that I would describe as the ‘ultimate negative keyword list‘.

I also tried the Wordstream negative keyword tool - which I am not overly impressed with, it seems to be more a hook to generate leads / customers for Wordstream rather than a particularly ‘useful’ negative keyword tool! What do you think?

So I thought: ‘why don’t I create the ultimate negative keyword list?’. Not only will it be useful for myself to use when managing my own client PPC accounts, but I will also be providing value to anyone and everyone who is reading this right now (aka ‘YOU‘)!

{ By the way, if you want some guidance on using Adwords search query reports to (reactively) find negative keywords to add into your account to improve Click Through Rate (CTR) and Quality Score (QS) then check my video tutorial out : Negative Keyword Google Adwords : Search Query Report. }

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are keywords you enter either at an Ad Group or Campaign Level, and are used to STOP your Ads from showing when users enter certain search terms which you do not wish your Ads to show for.

Here is a definition from : “A negative keyword is a word or phrase that allows you to filter out who your ads will be served to in the search results page. After you have decided that a term is irrelevant to your campaign, you can add that term as a negative keyword.”

How Do Negative Keywords Benefit Your Account

Adding negative keywords to an Adwords account has 2 main benefits:

1. They stop your Ads from showing for irrelevant keywords which will ultimately reduce your Return On Investment (ROI).

2. They help to improve your Click Through Rate (CTR) because your Ads are showing for the most relevant terms, and therefore increase your Quality Score (QS). An increased QS helps to reduce your average Cost Per Click (Av CPC) i.e. your Ads can show in a higher position at a lower Av CPC.

Negative Keyword Match Types

I audit / review LOTS of PPC accounts, and a common thing I see is that the VAST majority of negative keywords are added as Broad Match. People learn to use keyword match types for their Positive Keywords but they forget to use match types when it comes to negative keywords and simply type them into their account with no punctuation used.

My recommendations are this:

Most negative keywords, if used strategically, will be phrase match. i.e. I want to block the word ‘review’ from any search query.

Some, where appropriate, will be entered as [Exact Match] with the brackets around. This is where you want to block an exact key-phrase from triggering your Ads, as opposed to a word or phrase blocking any containing phrases from showing.

If you need any help on this, please contact me.

The Ultimate Negative Keyword List

So lets get straight into it – here is my ‘ultimate negative keyword list’ – enjoy and use it over and over again, and please leave a comment or email me on if you have any further suggestions to add into this list. It will remain a work in progress.

1. Blocking Job Searchers

Use this negative keyword list to block people who are searching for jobs. You do not want to waste PPC Ad Spend on people searching for job/employment opportunities with your (clients) company, unless your campaign is specifically targeting recruitment:

Note: you will be surprised how many queries job searches can account for, particularly in certain markets – so if you are NOT running a recruitment campaign, add these negative keywords to keep your keyword targeting clean!

“curriculum vitae”
“direct hire”
“direct placement”
“full time”
“head hunter”
“independent contractors”
“part time”
“work experience”

2. Blocking Educational Searches

You generally don’t want to pay for clicks if people are searching for educational resources in relation to your products, services or general industry. Use this list to filter out such searches, and bolster your ROI:

“text book”
“text books”

3. Blocking Research & Informational Search

Focusing your keywords towards people with buying / commercial intention is likely to help enhance your ROI. Use this negative keyword list to filter out users researching or searching without clear commercial intent:

“case studies”
“case study”
“customer service”
“head office”
“learn about”
“post code”
“success stories”
“success story”

4. Social & Online

Here is a negative keyword list of keywords that relate to social media, games etc… Block these keywords if you do not want to pay for clicks when people are searching for your social media profiles, blog, forum, games etc…

“e book”
“my space”
“you tube”

5. Price & Bargain Hunters

If you are not wanting to advertise your product/service as being the lowest cost option, then insert this negative keyword list:

Note: some of these relate to products rather than services, but most of them relate to both.

“blow out”
“blow outs”
“close out”
“close out”
“close outs”
“excess stock”
“half off”
“half price”
“half priced”
“internet special”
“low cost”
“low price”
“lowest cost”
“lowest price”
“odd lots”
“online special”
“promo code”
“promo codes”
“promotional code”
“promotional codes”
“special offer”
“whole sale”
“whole sales”
“whole saler”
“xs stock”
“old stock”
“ex display”

6. Images

This next negative keyword list relates to people looking for images, clip art etc… online. Best to filter these out as standard, unless of course you are in the image / picture business!

“clip art”

7. Questions

This is a list of questions, which can on the whole be associated with low commercial intent:

“are you”
“am i”
“are there any”
“can i”
“can you”
“do you need”
“do I have to”
“how to”
“how do i”
“how is”
“how to find”
“how can”
“how are”
“how many”
“step by step”
“what are”
“what is”
“what i”
“when do”
“when are”
“where are”
“where is”
“what do”

Any more? Please email me on or add a comment below.

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