200+ Negative Keywords to Consider for B2B PPC

January 22, 2008: (After you read this article, consider using our free Keyword List Generator to build large lists of target keywords and/or negative keywords.)

Every search engine advertiser should be using negative keywords in their Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns and/or Ad Groups. Negative keywords are words and phrases that you do not want searchers to associate with your products and services (see Google’s AdWords blog for some high-level information about negative keywords).

When you add negative keywords to your PPC campaigns your ads will not be served if those words are part of the user’s search query.

Not only does this benefit you by directly saving money on wasted clicks, it also improves the click through rate (CTR) of your keywords/ads, which helps improve your ad quality scores in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Improved quality scores can help you with bidding strategies by allowing you to bid less than a competitor (who is not as knowledgeable, skilled intelligent, talented, sophisticated, etc. as you are), and maintain high/higher ad positions on a search results page.

Over my 6+ years managing Pay Per Click campaigns, I have built up a list of negative keywords that are useful when conducting B2B PPC campaigns (I am providing some of my list only :)).

This list is by no means exhaustive, and each company has its own unique market positioning. So, do not use this list of negative keywords indiscriminately!!! The list of B2B negative keywords below is meant to be a resource for you, and a starting point when you are deciding which words you do not want associated with your ads.

Avoiding Job Seekers
Prevent your ads from appearing for common employment and career-related searches:

career
careers
employment
hiring
intern
interns
internship
internships
job
jobs
recruiter
recruiting
resume
resumes
salaries
salary

Reference Keywords
Don’t waste money on people looking for information that is only loosely related to your products/services or industry:

about
definition
diagram
example
examples
history
map
maps
sample
samples
what are
what is

No Research & Stats
Assuming you have a limited advertising budget, avoid people doing research, and make sure your are using your advertising $$ to generate sales and qualified leads:

association
associations
book
books
case studies
case study
guide
guides
journal
journals
magazine
magazines
metrics
news
research
review
reviews
statistics
stats
success stories
success story
tutorial
tutorials
white paper
white papers

We Don’t Provide Education
Prevent your ads from being shown to people looking for classes and education:

class
classes
college
colleges
course
courses
education
school
schools
training
universities
university

No Bargains
These negative keywords will help if you are positioned as a premium provider. If you do want visitors for these keyword concepts, create an additional campaign or ad group to focus on these discount concepts, and specifically bid on keywords that contain these words. And then make sure to add this list of negative keywords to the campaigns or ad groups that do not target the discount audience:

bargain
cheap
clearance
close out
close outs
closeout
closeouts
discount
discounted
free
inexpensive
liquidation
odd lots
overstock
remainder
remainders

Avoiding Price Shoppers
You may want visitors to your site looking for pricing and/or quotes, but if not, make sure to add in these words as negative keywords to avoid prospects who may be more concerned with price than with quality or service:

price
prices
pricing
quote
quotes

Avoiding DIY
In many industries there are “do-it-yourselfers” or hobbyists who are searching for information on how to take on a project themselves. It’s a good idea to screen out this audience if you do not cater to it:

craft
crafts
create
creating
hand made
handmade
home
homemade
how to
make
making

Selling Commercial Software
This is a tricky one. If you are a company selling commercial or enterprise software, a) you are likely to want to avoid the thousands of software developers who are looking for free resources, and b) you want to avoid confusion with consumers looking for tools and home-use products. Use this list as a starting point, but also brainstorm and use keyword suggestion tools to find potential negative keywords that are specific to your software space:

burn
burner
cd
code
community
desktop
developer
developers
disk
download (if you don’t have one)
downloads (if you don’t have any)
dvd
error
file
files
forum
free
freeware
game
games
gnu
hack
hacks
libraries
library
microsoft ( :) )
open source
public domain
retail
retail
retailer
retailers
shareware
shortcut
shortcuts
template
templates
tip
tips
video
windows

Manufacturing & Industrial
This is a very broad list of words, covering many different concepts related to manufacturing and industrial companies. Use this list to start the process of generating negative keywords specific to your industry, product lines, and business model.

antique
consumer
export
exporter
exporters
hobby
import
importer
importers
measurement
model
models
regulations
rent
rental
repair
repairs
retail
retailer
retailers
rules
safety
specifications
specs
standards
store
toy
toys
used
vintage

Product Materials
Obviously not all of these materials will apply to one business. I created this list of product materials as a reminder to screen out searches for product types that a company does not offer. One might wonder if it is OK to not screen for these in the hopes that someone will search for one type of product, but be convinced to buy a different type once they see what is available. Most B2B marketers have limited PPC budgets, so usually it is a better idea to only show your ads to people who don’t have a specific alternative to your products already in mind:

aluminum
ceramic
cotton
fabric
glass
gold
iron
leather
metal
paper
plastic
rubber
silver
stainless steel
steel
stone
vinyl
wood

Legal/Law
It is probably a good idea to prevent your ads from being shown to people looking for information related to legislation and regulations. There will be cases where this might not apply, especially if your product/service solves a regulatory/compliance issue (and if you have a landing page on your site that speaks to the legal issue AND provides a conversion action right there on the page):

act
act of
compliance
law
laws
legal
legislation
regulation
regulations

Other Negative Keywords B2B Marketers May Consider
Here are just a few more words that seem to come up in B2B search advertising campaigns…

club
clubs
consultants
consulting
gift
gifts
online
photo
photograph
photographs
picture
pictures
send
sending

Remember, the list above is not comprehensive, and does not apply to all B2B marketers.

Please add your suggestions to this list!

  • http://www.emarketingperformance.com/ Diana Adams

    Fantastic list, thank you!!!

  • http://www.folkart.typepad.com Laurie Meseroll

    Wow! I never would have known this. Thank you very much for valuable information.

  • http://pr.typepad.com john cass

    great list andy, I wonder if you could discuss context in relation to negative keywords.

  • http://www.e3internet.com Nick Wilsdon

    Useful post Andy thanks. As you said though, I do find you have to think these up for each project, as they can have unique cases.

    For example we once did some work for adult toys, the last thing we wanted were people looking for video/videos/mp3s/mpegs of the item! Doing some thorough keyword research can alert you to the most popular trends to be avoided.

    Your lists here though are a great reference to start from if you take on a client in that area.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @Nick Wilsdon

    Hi Nick. Thanks for the comment! Your experience with adult toys reminds me of a related, but somewhat opposite, problem that I had. We had a client that provided fiction books for tween girls. The list of negative keywords I had to generate for that made me blush… I never shared the actual list with the client (although they could see it anytime they wanted in their account) because it was too painful. I just let them know that I had about 150 negative keywords that prevented the wrong audience from coming to their very innocent site.

  • Bansi Patel

    This is great! Thanks for putting it together!

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  • http://www.whitepapercompany.com/blog Jonathan Kantor

    Gee, the term “white paper” or “white papers” is now considered a negative word?

    That comes as news to me and several others in this business that have found great success by including an offer for a free white paper in their PPC ads.

    You may want to re-think that one.

    Jonathan Kantor
    The White Paper Pundit

  • http://www.e3internet.com/greenhouse/nick Nick Wilsdon

    @Jonathan

    Well if you were carrying out a PPC campaign which included a free white paper, yes, excluding that keyword would be bad_idea (TM).

    As Andy wrote in the introduction, “do not use this list of negative keywords indiscriminately”. Each campaign has its own circumstances.

    I assume though you would be in support of people excluding the term ‘white paper’ if they were not actually offering one. That might lower the CPC of your own ‘white paper’ campaigns? ;)

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  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @Nick – Thanks for stepping in there! Exactly the point.

    @Jonathan – If you are using a white paper as a lead generation tool, of course you would not exclude that term. But, what you SHOULD do is create a separate campaign or ad group to target keywords that CONTAIN the term “white paper” and target your ad copy and landing pages accordingly.

  • http://searchmarketingblogonline.blogspot.com/2008/01/200-negative-keywords-for-b2b-ppc.html Search Marketing Blog

    […] through 6 years of pay per click advertising, has put together quite an impressive list of negative keywords for various types of B2B search marketing campaigns […]

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  • http://www.qualitynonsense.com Quality Nonsense

    Fantastic list. There’s a few there I’d never have thought of.

  • http://www.andrusgroup.com jclark

    Thanks so much for the list! I am just starting to dabble in the PPC world and this is by far the best tip/resource a beginner like myself could have! keep the good entries coming:)

  • Megan J

    Great list. Many of these words will be helpful in my B2B as well as my B2C accounts. Thanks!

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  • http://www.timeatlas.com Anne H

    Thanks for providing this excellent list and resource. One term I pulled from my reviews was “contest”. I also added “lawsuits” based on a recommendation from someone else that I can’t remember.

    As an adsense publisher though, there are some terms that make me go “uh oh” even though you did post in bold about using these terms indiscriminately ;-)

    My site does many “how to’s”, tips and tutorials. In many cases, the ads that show are relevant. I would think my readers would be interested in the products. I worry that if everyone adds your suggestions to remove these terms, the ads become irrelevant which wouldn’t be good for my readers.

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  • http://searchengineppc.com/articles/importance-of-negative-keywords.html Lindsey Walsh

    Good list here, and nice segmentation.

    This goes nicely on my article on the importance of negative keywords for B2B companies.

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  • http://members.work.com/Eve-Lopez Eve Lopez

    Thank you so much for this awesome list – I linked to it in a guide I wrote about PPC ad copy: http://www.work.com/how-to-avoid-using-the-word-free-and-other-lame-gimmicks-in-your-b2b-ppc-ads-7959/

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  • http://www.bitmedia.co.uk Rob Hartley

    What a great list!
    First point of call for me is always the google keyword tool. Use your main keywords and see what comes up. you’ll find some interesting results and you will discover the main negative keywords you should be using. Then use a bit of logic and brain power! Every campaign will have a unique set of negative keywords – not always obvious – and there is no way a generic list will cover the most important ones for your business.
    You will need to consider what the important factors of your business are. If you rent a holiday cottgae or holiday villa for example, then you will need to avoid those people wanting to buy a villa or cottage, so “buy”, “for sale”, “sell”, “purchase”, “property”, “estate agents”… could be a few of your important negative keywords here. There would also be good generic ones you could add such as “photo” “photographs”, “pictures”, “image”, “review”, “prices” and many others form the list Andy has written.

    Here are a few to add to Andy’s List:

    image related:
    pic
    pics
    gif
    gifs
    image
    images
    video
    clip
    clips

    products:
    specs
    specifcations

    jobs:
    position
    positions
    opening
    openings

    popular sites:
    youtube
    facebook
    myspace

    research:
    wikipedia
    wiki
    blog
    blogs
    blogger
    news
    press
    article
    articles

    software:
    warez
    crack
    torrent
    torrents

    Rob Hartley.
    http://www.bitmedia.co.uk

  • http://www.clicksharpmarketing.com Paul Burani, Clicksharp Marketing

    This is a terrific list — thanks for giving everyone a head start. Negative keywords are a powerful concept for small business (and thus often first-time) PPC advertisers… selling them on PPC in general often is helped by isolating the groups of individuals you’re trying to filter out with the negatives. That was the intent of our recent 5-part series on negative keywords: http://www.clicksharpmarketing.com/blog/2008/08/31/ppc-bad-clicks-seo-email-spammers/

  • waseem

    great list….
    i m also managing B2B PPC projects … your idea help me a lot in designing some of my campaigns. can you give me some suggestion about some keywords and negetive keywords for information security services.

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  • http://blog.m4n.nl/ jaapgroothuizen

    This is a long list with a lot of really usefull keyworsd to not exclude. When you are planning to use all the words of above, consider using exact match instead of using al these words ;).

  • http://www.michiganseoexpert.com danr

    Excellent List. I have found that including things like parks, passes, hill, and other landmarks, places and business that get named after your keywords can be very effective too.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @Michigan – thanks for these additional suggestions!

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  • http://www.pulsesolutions.com Pulse Solutions – Internet marketing

    One more trick is to analyze your site logs to see the keywords that people use to search for information that is not related to your website. Add them to your negative keyword list.

  • UK Dating Partners

    Fantastic list, so pleased I have come across your website. Excellent tip from “Pulse Solutions” ! Thank You

  • http://blog.deejaydog.tv Doug Vanisky

    Thanks. Very useful post. Great resource!

  • http://www.netage.co.za Angie

    Thank you for this great list. Do you add these as phrase, exact or broad negative words. I find that broad often is too broad and removes too many of my possible results. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated as I am still new to PPC.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @Angie – For the most part I find that using broad match works just fine. There are cases where exact and phrase are appropriate for negative keywords. You really have to use a combination of data from your web analytics (to see what users are actually typing to get to your site) and your best judgment as it relates to your own business. Hope this helps!

  • http://www.netage.co.za Angie

    Hi Andy

    Thank you so much!

  • http://practical-emarketer.blogspot.com Elaine Garrett

    Thanks for the terrific list! And my thanks to Rob Hartley, too!

  • http://www.affiliate-software-review.com Peter Koning

    Nice list thanks. I’d like to suggest “typos” of some of the more common ones above…

    Cheers.

  • http://www.360partners.com TJ

    While I see value in a universal negative *site* exclusion list, I would not use a universal negative keyword list. Especially some of the keywords on this list, like “what is”, “price”, “quote”. Half the reason people are on the web is to research, whether it be price or to learn more about how to buy. Tread caution with this list.

  • http://www.komarketingassociates.com/ Andy Komack

    @TJ Thank you for your comments. You are correct – not all the words are for every occasion and type of business. This is in fact NOT a universal negative keyword list. It is a resource for ways of thinking about negative keywords.

    In terms of making decisions about when to exclude terms such as “what is”, “price”, and “quote”, it will likely depend on whether or not your advertising budget has enough room in it to go after terms that may have a lower conversion rate, or a conversion process that is lengthier than what it might be if someone did not use those words in their search.

  • http://www.intendance.com Debbie

    This is a great list, there were a few I hadn’t even thought of. One that I just found by running search query reports in Adwords is “trains” for an airline. That term triggered 68 impressions for flights to Australia in one afternoon, before I added it to the negatives!

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  • http://www.mustang-technologies.com/ mustang-technologies

    Hi Nick

    Great piece of information. This will surely be helpful for my future PPC campaigns. In fact this proves to be a valuable set of information about negative keywords, which I was previously unaware of.

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  • http://www.martialartmarketing.co.uk Jonathan

    This is a great list to consider adding or expanding to your negative keyword list. Im currently setting up adword campaign for client, didnt want spend a penny on “freeloader” or otherwise inapropiate traffic such as job seekers.

    To this list I would also add words in the theme of ad’s

    this is a great list to get the brain cells on the right path. This will improve my conversion and help lower my overall CPC.

    Also.. important to know where are your buyers in the buying cycle. and target to that. there is a big difference between “I want to buy a red toaster with 8 toast slots, and have looked everywhere so the first ad that comes up i will deffo buy” and “maybe i should buy my mum a toaster for mothers day?” Both are looking for toasters, yet the latter may end up buying something totally different.

    Best Regards
    Jonathan

  • JourdanW

    Great list. Not all will apply to every situation but it is a wonderful start and certainly gets you thinking about every situation. Thanks!

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  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Finding-Niche-Keywords Landon Douglas

    This is acceptable in terms of search engine optimization. Naught seems to rag upon it than this.Interestingly, this is just was worried about several years prior at the last blackhat about seo in ’94!

  • http://keywordfury.com/ kwdfury

    The best cost savings measure I’ve found with regards to Adwords is to just not bother. I have tried twice with two different products and two different “Adwords Pros” managing campaigns (one who makes his living doing it and another who is amateur but has been highly successful with Adwords promoting his own products) and both times I lost money.

    I’d love to see an article on Adwords that looks in depth into the question of when Adwords is worth using and when it is not (based on product, target user base, price of product, etc.)!

  • Sachin

    Thanks, that’s was very helpful. Can you provide “Business Class Flights” related negative keywords.

  • http://www.KeywordTerminator.com Steve Cox

    Hi there, thanks for a great article. Negative Keywords can save you a lot of money, or if you are willing to keep your PPC spend the same, can make you a lot of money!

    Defining negative keywords can be a long, slow arduous task. Either by guesswork or by trawling through loads of enquiry data, most businesses just do not have the time to search for irrelevant keywords and simply end up with a few negative words in their campaigns.

    We’ve personally fallen foul of not implementing negative keywords which is why we built a great solution to automate the whole negative keyword process. You can check it out at KeywordTerminator.com and also pick up our Free White Paper, Be Positive – Go Negative.

    Cheers, Steve

  • http://www.dizzybranch.com/ Adrian Gordon

    Thank you so much for this. I cannot explain how useful this is. You deserve a medal

    • http://www.samee.us/ Samee Ullah Feroz

      you are right dear. that’s why I liked this topic

  • http://kecreate.com/ Kirk

    This is an extremely helpful list. I have it bookmarked and use it often for accounts. Thank you!

    • http://www.samee.us/ Samee Ullah Feroz

      Yes many people liked this list.

  • http://www.samee.us/ Samee Ullah Feroz

    great work dear; I like it serious, I used this list in my ppc.

    thanks

  • marie

    helpful list – thankks

  • Aragorn

    This is helpful as, Ive been using it for ages. but I have to say it’s pretty annoying that you have that smily face and the word after ‘download’ and ‘downloads’ that I have to omit.
    When I’m copy pasting into AdWords Editor, I have to stop and pause for those couple of words.
    Could you remove the after thoughts?

    • Lex Urquhart

      For some reason, I doubt that you should be copying and pasting the entire list.

      Every time I run through this list I think about whether or not these apply to my search queries in different ways, as I come across each keyword. I have used this list nearly a hundred times and have yet to include every single keyword.

      Good luck!

  • http://perthwebdevelopers.edublogs.org/ mmayer

    How to use or insert negative keywords? Do you have sample?

    • http://imapro.in/ Gaurav Agarwal ( imapro.in )

      you can either ad negative keywords same as you add keywords just put -ve sign before it i.e. -jobs, -free, or click on keywords tab in your campaign and scroll till the end of the page, you will find a tab to list all the -ve keywords at adgroup or campaign level (as shown in the picture)

  • sukritinfotech

    Pay Per Click Company”
    Great List very useful information go on sites

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