Find Negative Keywords and Weed Out Bad Keyword Matches with SpyFu Kombat

Looking for one more reason to use SpyFu Kombat?  How about saving your budget?

You know the drill.  You add an extra keyword or two in some experiments. Try a few out and see what converts. What’s the harm in that? Plenty if you’re not paying attention.

Soon, extra weight tugging at your budget keeps you from maximizing your focused messages that convert. Using negative keywords can help trim this fat from your Adwords campaign.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords tell Google not to show your ad when they are entered as a query.  If you sell specialty seeds and write a gardening enthusiast’s blog, you want people to find you when they search for “heirloom tomatoes.” What you don’t want is for someone to see your ad when they are hunting for “heirloom tomato recipes.” That is where negative keywords come in.  Enter “-recipes” into your Google Adwords lineup to remove your ads from those related results.

Successful search marketers agree, the best ads specifically answer what is being searched for. That is why popular negative keyword suggestions are “-free trial,” “-repair” and “-discount” unless you are able to provide those.

Even negative terms about a brand are important to consider. When your business revolves around Neon Widgets, it’s best to avoid having your ad show up for “Neon Widgets suck.” Anyone searching for that phrase is simply not your buyer.

Accidental traffic is good if they stumble upon your blog, but if you are paying for each click of an ad, you want every visitor primed to buy.

So how does SpyFu help you discover negative keywords that could be overlooked?

You might already be advertising on terms that are irrelevant to your business. But if AdWords campaigns are made of terms you input, how could that possibly happen?

Match types could be to blame. The way that your ad pops up on keywords you don’t want might be a simple fix.

Here’s how it looked for one advertiser

SpyFu Kombat allows you to compare up to three domains’ keyword lists (both organic and paid) at a time. The diagram you get in the results will sort common keywords between two competitors, common keywords among all three competitors, and keywords exclusive to any of the domains.

Here we are comparing three big players in online shoe sales: Zappos, Piperlime, and I clicked on the section of’s unique ads (Exclusive Keywords), giving me 219 terms. (This is the part of’s circle that doesn’t overlap with either domain.)’s ad has appeared on these keywords, but ads from and have not.

Kombat showing exlusive keywords

Piperlime, a shoe and apparel site, showed up as an ad result for “mini mac computers,” a keyword that domains like Apple, Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy all share. Here’s a stellar example of a negative keyword idea they never would have considered on their own. It’s most likely that they broad matched too far on “mini”. Piperlime might have mini skirts, but it doesn’t sell Mac computers.

Negative match example for san diego state hates

The explanation was simple:

1. Click on the keyword to drill into its details. This opens the term page.
2. Scroll down to the Ad History tab. Click on it.
3. Running down the list of all domains who have advertised on that term, we can spot in October 2012.

SpyFu Negative match ad history example for piperlime

“San Diego Hats” itself is a relevant keyword for Since they can deliver this whimsical hat brand, it works well for them. Unfortunately the ad triggered an irrelevant match. No better remedy than a negative keyword. Welcome to the lineup, “-San Diego State hats.”

Piperlime website negative match example

By running into SpyFu Kombat, we were able to pinpoint terms that might have come to haunt them down the road.

Yes, it is possible to run only your own domain in SpyFu. But by entering related competitors into Kombat at the same time, you filter out relevant keywords so that you don’t have to sift through so many to find the “Sand Diego State hats” of your niche. It’s a shortcut.

Kombat automatically creates the keyword list that is exclusive to your domain. In the example above, and Zappos might have also advertised on “Max Studio” as well as “leather boots” and “Steve Madden shoes.”

So instead of scouring through hundreds of keywords that triggered your ad, you narrow it down to the accidental fat most likely to waste your money. And saving time here saves you time and money in the long run. Goodbye, fat.