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Google Adwords Negative Matching Never Seems To Work

On Google, I have so many negatives in my broad matched Adwords campaigns and yet every week I see more or less the same queries turn up on search query reports that have been negatived. This is very frustrating. This keeps happening on keywords which are high in volume on Google broad searches, e.g. something like ‘holiday’. If I have a load of negatives against this broad matched term, but I increase CPCs/daily budget caps, Google will try to push for volume even within what I have negatived (or so I believe).

I also just read this post which suggests from contact with Google support that “with broad match negative keywords, the system does not block all related queries — especially if they are different in more than one respect”. E.g. if I negative match ‘holiday inn’ as a broad negative and the query ‘holeday inns’ repeatedly came up (unlikely I know), then this would not be captured by the negative as it is 2 removes from the negative, effectively cancelling itself out. This means that the negative algorithm cannot handle more than one variation on broad match at a time, especially at the expense of driving volume and therefore profit for Google.

Negative broads seem to be more effective on low daily budget campaigns and keywords which don’t see masses of queries.

The solution: negative exact match everything irrelevant to your Adwords campaign as it comes up in search query reports – unfortunately you may have paid for the irrelevant click but it won’t happen again as it definitely won’t be matched again.



3 thoughts on “Google Adwords Negative Matching Never Seems To Work

  1. You make an excellent point, and broad match can often provide irrelevant traffic, no matter how many negatives you add.

    One possible solution I found, is to make use of Google’s new modified broad match:


    I found using broad match modifers to replace or at least improve broad match keywords leads to higher CTR, lower CPCs, and overall better relevancy.


    Posted by Calculate Marketing | October 19, 2010, 8:24 am
    • Hi Alan, Thanks for your comment. I agree about broad match modifier as a solution for the problem I have been experiencing with negatives on broad match. I have had a look at your analysis of BMM and I think it is particularly valuable – particularly around the number of modifiers used lowering CPCs incrementally. I still find regular broad match is useful, but only for campaigns which need expanding and therefore for finding new keywords. Otherwise, I agree that BMM is invaluable for lowering costs and generally attracting more refined traffic. Thanks again!

      Posted by jk73 | October 19, 2010, 7:28 pm


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Google Adwords Negative Matching Never Seems To Work « Big PPC Geek -- Topsy.com - October 21, 2010

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