If you’re buying Google Ads for your site, the use of negative keywords is very important and can make your campaign much less expensive and more successful. For organic search, though, negative keywords simply do not exist.
You can read more about this on this post at Search Engine Roundtable.
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So I was talking with a client of ours about this a few weeks ago, then saw this article on Search Engine Roundtable and thought it might be worth sharing.
With Google Ads (and most types of online ads), negative keywords are important. They allow you to show up for normal keyword searches, but you can be sure not to show up if certain other words are included.
For example, suppose we want to buy an ad so that we show up when people search for “web design in atlanta”. Cool. However, we’re a WordPress shop, so we don’t want to show up if people have the word “Squarespace” in their search.
As a result, if we buy a Google Ad with “squarespace” as a negative keyword, we’ll show up if people search for “web design in atlanta”, or “great web design in atlanta” or “creative web design in atlanta”, but we won’t show up if they search for “squarespace web design in atlanta”. Perfect.
With organic search, though, that’s simply not possible. If we don’t have the word “squarespace” on our site, we probably won’t show up, but we can’t tell that to Google.
To make sure it’s clear, someone asked Google’s John Mueller about this by saying “Is there any way to let Google know negative keywords? Or not to rank for those keywords?”
John’s response was pretty simple. He said “No – just focus on what you really want to be seen as being relevant for”.
With most phrases, there is enough competition out there that you won’t often come up for the wrong terms. Using our example, we’ll likely never rank well for “squarespace web design in atlanta”, because we don’t talk about Squarespace on our site. If somehow we do come up for that search, we’ll see how it goes.
If you find yourself ranking well for a term that you really don’t want to rank for, check out your site carefully and remove any mention of that word and Google will likely stop showing you for that query.