How to Use WordStream's Negative Keyword Suggestion Tool

Negative Keywords are one of the most important (and most often overlooked) aspects of a successful PPC campaign.

This tutorial walks you through the use of WordStream's negative keyword tool that will help you to lower costs and improve Quality Score if used properly.

Setting Negative Keywords

In order to set negative keywords you must first create your keyword groups. Once you have set up your keyword group structure you can start refining your groups by setting negatives.
To set negatives, navigate to the Manage Keywords > Find Negatives section. Assuming you have already created keyword groups using the WordStream keyword grouping tools, the process will be quick and painless since you’ve already designated what keywords are relevant to your business.
First, review your list of Negative Keyword Contenders, which WordStream has compiled for you based on the most frequently occurring keyword modifiers (including common variations) in your account. The list is sorted by frequency so start at the top and work your way down to make the greatest impact on cleaning up your account.
Then, review the words in blue for relevance. Click Yes if they are relevant and belong in your account. Click No if they are not relevant and should be set as a negative:
Negative Keyword Contenders
By clicking "OK" you'll set the keyword to a negative broad match. You can learn more about negative match types here.

Advanced Features

WordStream gives you control over keyword match types and what keyword groups are affected by the negatives they set:
  • Match Types - To change the match type (Broad/Phrase/Exact), click the match type label to reveal the drop-down menu and choose your selection.
  • Groups Affected - Assuming you’ve already created your keyword groups, you can set negatives at both the Account-level and the Group-level. This translates directly to your Google AdWords Campaign-level and Ad Group-level settings.
  • Removing Negatives - Let’s say you’ve added “matching” as a negative. That also includes all occurrences of “match,” “matched,” and “matches.” But what if one of these variations of “matching” is relevant to your business? No problem- just click the X to remove it from your list of Negative Keyword Selections and it will be added back into your account.
 Negative Keyword Selections
WordStream also offers flexibility in viewing/adding to Negative Keyword Contenders:
  • Filtering - To quickly filter the list for a specific modifier, type your query into the box above “Negative Keyword Contenders.” You also have to ability to filter for non-converting keywords (check-box at the bottom of the Negative Keyword Contenders list), and to sort the list by frequency (click on the sort icon next to the query box).
  • Manual Add - Is the negative you’re thinking of not in the list? In that case click the “Manually Add Negative Keywords” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, enter your custom negative selections, choose match type, and click “Add.”

Best Practices for Setting Negatives

  • Create Keyword Groups First - Sifting through segmentations and designating keyword clusters that are relevant creates less work for yourself and teaches the WordStream system about your business. Defining your keyword database first allows the software's negative suggestions to be that much more powerful.
  • Think of Negatives as Filters - Setting a negative creates a "filter" for your WordStream account; it tells WordStream: this keyword and keywords like it aren't for me, and those keywords won't be introduced into your WordStream account.
  • Look for Descriptive Words - In setting a keyword as positive or negative, be sure to look for descriptive words that will be discriminating enough to work for all variations of that keyword. General keywords are not good candidates for positives or negatives, and should probably be tabled until a better candidate becomes apparent.

Going Beyond the Negative Keyword Suggestion Tool

In order to better understand the way that the negative keyword tool works, you may want to look at our Negative Keyword Guide, or any of the other WordStream User Guide modules.