Negative Match keywords aim to make your campaign profitable

Negative match settings could save you thousands of dollars each month without giving up traffic you’ve fought so hard to build.

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We created the AdWords Advisor as a collection of our best advice for your PPC campaign. We recommend keywords to add, but we expanded our advice toward keywords to drop, too. Follow our negative match advice, and you can guard against wasteful matches that cost you money without much in return.

Best negative match opportunities showing potential savings per month

This goes beyond guess-work. The keywords we show you are keywords you are advertising on already, whether you meant to or not. Our negative match advice is actionable—you can do something about it right now and make an immediate improvement to your PPC campaign.

The details behind this PPC report are all based on what audiences respond best to. We can take a look at the industry you compete in and gauge which terms are worth fighting for. The keywords that make the negative match suggestion list are neither profitable nor popular amongst your competitors. We can tell because if they haven’t dropped (or avoided) these keywords altogether, then they no longer update the ad copy and no one is bidding on it consistently.

The negative match section of the AdWords Advisor report guards against wasteful matches that trigger your ad in the wrong place. Usually broad match is the culprit, but some of Google’s updates could be working against you, too.

What triggers these matches?

Broad Match
We found expensive ads sneaking into’s campaign that were costing them hundreds of dollars per day.  Part of their trouble sprang from broad match gone wild.

They sell rugs. As part of that inventory, they sell rugs decorated with collegiate teams like Notre Dame and The Ohio State University.   Hoping to reach Buckeye fans shopping for some game day merchandise, added “Ohio State football” to their AdWords campaign. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t put many constraints on the term and ended up matching on expensive searches like “Ohio State Football tickets.” They took the same route for other schools, and the mistake matches added up.

This was not their intent, but keywords relating to so much of your business can get out of hand. It’s why’s “fish food” ads show up alongside Red Lobster in a search for “sea food restaurants.”

Or maybe Google’s taking things too far with the fish connection in their fuzzy match.

Google’s Fuzzy Math Match
Google updated its exact match and phrase match rules last spring to make them fuzzy.  That means that even with these settings, you will be automatically advertising on misspellings, plurals, and any other form of the word. Google’s own example shows stemmings, like getting “flooring” from “floor.”

This leads to matches that you have no intention of delivering on. It steals some of your control in advertising on one thing and not the other. You pour energy into a targeted campaign that takes the wheel from you.

“Green goddess dress” is not “green goddess dressing.”Picture of a woman in a green dress with a salad and green liquid.

Unprofitable, low-quality keywords
These are tougher to swallow. Some suggestions might make sense on paper, but they don’t stand up to scrutiny.  Like’s use of “phonebook” or an upscale men’s clothing site advertising on “green shorts,” they look relevant at first glance. Look deeper at competitive activity on the keyword, though, and you’ll see that most other competitors dropped it already.

We single out the least profitable keywords in your industry or matches that don’t always put you in front of the right audience. Consider them the weakest links in your keyword chain.

“These matches can’t possibly be real.” 

It’s an understandable reaction. Even with the scenarios we described, some of these matches don’t add up. That’s why the AdWords Advisor includes a screen shot of your ad’s results page. That gives you proof of what your ad looked like when it ran to help you address any questions about how it happened.

If you are not buying these keywords directly, you might want to set them to “negative match” in AdWords. You can also restructure your match types on more targeted keywords.
Monopoly Get out of jail free card customized
In the past, we turned to SpyFu Kombat for lists of keywords that you appeared on but your competitors didn’t. That was the inspiration for this section in the report, but the AdWords Advisor takes it even deeper. We have the ability to compare keywords against a much wider base of competitors in this new report.
It gives us a snapshot of the industry you compete in AND the keywords your competitors have avoided themselves.

Ultimately, this section helps you cut out waste with little effort on your part. We are watching for the best opportunities to help you run a profitable PPC campaign.

The AdWords Advisor is available at