Negative match is an option in paid search (talking about Google Adwords today) where you can choose keywords or related keywords that you do not want your ad to show up for. For some people, you may be thinking, “why would I not want to show up for something? I want to show up for everything!” A good amount of advertisers out there use broad match when setting up their keywords and I’m sure some even use exact match or phrase match, but probably few use negative match.
When you use broad match for a keyword, your ad will end up showing up for a lot of different searches that are similar or even related to your keyword. This is not always good because the searcher may be looking for something completely different than what you are offering. And if by chance these people don’t realize that you don’t offer what they want until they click your ad, you will be wasting and losing a lot of money that could be spent on more qualified traffic.
Here are a couple examples of when you might want to implement negative match on keywords:
Your Site: Features places to surf in Hawaii
Broad Match Keyword: Hawaii surfing
You may show up for “Hawaii surfing lessons” or “Hawaii surf rentals”
Negative Match: “-lessons” or “-rentals”
Your Site: Las Vegas buffet
Broad Match Keyword: Las Vegas buffets
You may show up for “Las Vegas hotels” or “Las Vegas shows”
Negative Match: “-hotels” or “-shows”
Analyze your AdWords Search Queries Report to see what keyword variations trigger your ad. Utilize this to clean up your keyword list and save money!