About negative keyword lists

If there are search terms that give you unwanted impressions or clicks across multiple campaigns, you can create a negative keyword list that includes those terms, then apply the list to relevant campaigns. This way you won’t have to manually add the same negative keywords to individual campaigns, and you can more easily manage future changes to negative keywords across campaigns. This article explains how negative keyword lists work.

Before you begin

If you’re not familiar with how negative keywords work, you can find out more in About negative keywords.

How it works

To build a negative keyword list, you’ll want to think of words that you don't want triggering your ads. You can use the search terms report to get ideas.You may also want to organize these words by themes, such as the different products or services you offer. You can add up to 5,000 negative keywords per list and create up to 20 negative keyword lists in your account.

When you've created your negative keyword list, you can apply the list to multiple campaigns right away. Later, if you need to add a new negative keyword to those same campaigns, you can just add it to the negative keyword list, and the change applies to all campaigns that share the list.


Let's say you run 3 separate campaigns for cruises, flights, and hotels you offer for Hawaii and Alaska, but not Mexico. You'd like to prevent your ads from showing to people looking for cruises, flights, and hotels for Mexico. Here's what you can do:

  • Create a negative keyword list called "Excluded Travel Destinations."
  • Add negative keywords such as "Mexican Riviera Cruises," "Cancun hotels," and "Flights to Mexico" to the list. You’ll want to include different variants of keywords related to Mexico, including specific regions and cities.
  • Apply the list to all 3 campaigns.

Keep in mind:

Negative keywords work differently for Display and Video campaigns than they do for Search. Depending on the other keywords or targeting methods in your ad group, some pages where your ad appears may occasionally contain excluded terms. For Display and Video ads, a maximum of 1,000 negative keywords at the account level is considered.

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