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What are Negative Keywords?

What are Negative Keywords?

negative keywordsThe term negative keywords can be misleading. Usually when you think of keywords, you’re talking about search engine optimization. Keywords are the terms you want to rank for, right? So what exactly is a negative keyword?

Negative keywords are keywords that you don’t want to rank for. Now you must be thinking ‘wait a second, why wouldn’t I want to rank for a keyword?? The more rankings the better!’ This is not true, because if you start to rank for things you shouldn’t rank for, your bounce rate will skyrocket and people who are visiting your website are actually landing up by mistake. That’s no good.

Negative keywords to the rescue! Using negative keywords will ensure (or at least, try to ensure) that your website does not rank for broad terms which don’t apply to your website. The classic example is the glasses example Google uses. Let’s say you’re an optometrist and you sell glasses. You obviously would like your website to rank for glasses, but the terms ‘glasses’ is too general (a head term), so if you rank for ‘glasses’, then you’ll start showing up when people search for ‘wine glasses’. Now that’s no good (unless you’re an extra special special optometrist and also sell wine and wine glasses in your store) so you don’t want to rank for that term. ‘Wine glasses’ in your situation, is considered a negative keyword. See how simple that is?

Using negative keywords in your PPC (pay per click) advertising campaigns can also greatly reduce your costs and yield better results. When you incorporate negative keywords in your campaigns, you’re telling Google not to show your ad for those keywords. This means people won’t be uselessly clicking on your ad and costing you money, only to realize your website is not what they were looking for in the first place.

Have a look at Google’s explanation of negative keywords:

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