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Anna George

Google AdWords – Introducing Negative Keywords Lists

23rd May 2011 Paid Search, Google AdWords, SEO 2 minutes to read

We all hopefully know how important negative keywords are to the success of a paid search campaign, if you don’t then I suggest you have a read of this negative keywords article.

Have you ever experienced how cumbersome a large negative keyword list can be (when I say large I mean thousands)? More importantly when you have multiple campaigns, with multiple ad groups which all use the same negative keywords? Well Google have introduced a new way of managing these groups of keywords through Negative Keyword Lists.

The tool allows you to add a list of negative keywords and then allocate these to particular campaigns within your account. The lists are managed centrally and any changes will be rolled out across each of the campaigns you have chosen to link with the list.

It may not sound like a massive ground-breaking idea, but when you have thousands of negatives and dozens of campaigns each with dozens of ad groups this neat little tool will save a lot of clicking, copying and pasting!

A quick ‘How To’ guide

Getting your lists ready…

  1. Get your list of negative keywords ready
  2. Under ‘Campaigns’ tab, navigate to the ‘Control panel and library’ in the left-hand panel. Select ‘Negative keyword lists’ from the menu.

    Negative keyword lists, under Control panel and library

  3. Choose to add ‘New negative keyword list’
  4. Create a name for you first negative keyword list, copy and paste your prepared keywords in to the box (as with normal keyword addition, a new keyword on each line). You need to ensure your keywords have the correct match type characters around them, however do not include the negative sign before them. Click ‘Save’.

    Create a new negative keyword list

Create as many negative keyword lists as you wish at this stage, they are allocated to campaigns individually. Your negative keywords lists are now ready to use!

Using your lists…

  1. Navigate to ‘All online campaigns’ within the campaigns tab. Navigate to ‘Keywords’ tab (you can select a campaign to work with at this stage or navigate through all online campaigns).
  2. Expand the Negative keywords section at the bottom of your keyword list
  3. As normal here you will see Ad group level and Campaign level negative keywords. Next to Campaign Level you will now notice two options – ‘Keywords’ (which will be selected by default) or ‘Keyword Lists’. Select ‘Keyword Lists’.
  4. Now allocate your pre-prepared negative keyword lists to your campaign. Click ‘Add’, choose ‘Add keyword lists’. At this stage, if you have navigated through a campaign you will just see the option to add campaign negative keyword lists. If however you chose to navigate through all online campaigns/keywords you have to select a campaign first, then a negative keyword list.

    Select negative keyword lists for your campaign

  5. Add as many negative keyword lists that are relevant to your campaign, click ‘Save’ and move on to the next.

Best practice

  • Create multiple negative keyword lists which you can choose to allocate to individual campaigns
  • When adding or removing keywords ensure you work from the negative keyword list you have created to ensure changes are applied across all campaigns (if required)
  • Don’t forget your match types! Just as you would enter punctuation around search terms, add them around your negatives

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Anna George
About the author

Anna George

Anna has worked in online marketing and eCommerce for over 4 years, working both digital agency and client side. She provides insightful tips for webmasters.

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