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Negative Keyword Definition & Meaning

What Is a Negative Keyword?

A negative keyword is a negative match keyword that lets you exclude search terms from your ad campaigns. Negative keywords prevent your ad from being shown to users who search for that term online.

Negative keywords are important for campaigns in Google Ads that use pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM) billing methods because they stop your ads from being triggered by certain words or phrases that have a low probability of generating new leads, customers, and sales.

The negative keyword filtering process helps you focus your Google Ads only on the keywords that matter most to your target customers and are more guaranteed to increase your return on advertising spend (ROAS).

Download the SEO Keyword Research CheatsheetDownload the SEO Keyword Research Cheatsheet

There are three types of negative keywords you can use for negative ad matches:

  • Negative Broad Match: Ads will not show if the search, website, or video contains all of the negative keyword terms, even if the terms are in a different order.
  • Negative Phrase Match: Ads will not show if the search, website, or video contains the exact keyword terms in the same order.
  • Negative Exact Match: Ads will not show if the search, website, or video contains the exact keyword terms, in the same order, without extra words.

Visit the SEO Glossary

Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.