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How to research proactive negatives

Section 1.5: Adding negative keywords proactively

The problem with building up negative keywords reactively is that your account may have to spend for that learning through unqualified clicks on your ads. To save this money and take intelligent measures to improve your ad traffic off the bat you need to consider proactively adding negative keywords.

Researching negatives with Google search

If we sell red roses online, and our campaign is to target search for red roses, then let’s see what we get when we search for “red roses” on Google.

Researching negatives with Google
Screenshot of the autocomplete suggestions from Google search.

Right away, we see terms that would be irrelevant to what we sell. Song titles, images, local searches. From just this two seconds of research we’ve gathered the following list of negatives that we’d be wise to apply proactively before launching our campaign.

Found Negatives

Continuing on to the SERP (search engine results page) for “red roses”, and after scrolling through some initial results regarding an apparently popular song by Lil Skies, we see the following.

People also ask
Screenshot of part of the Google SERP for the search “red roses”

This is an important section for our research because Google is directly telling us what the common searches are around the term “red roses”. Also note how important images for red roses must be for Google to place them so prominently. From this we can add to our list.

At the bottom of the SERP Google shows even more information we can use and add to our list.

Related searches
Screenshot of the bottom part of the Google SERP for the search “red roses”
Found negatives

Note, we’ve added the pluralization of “song”, which we already had in our list. And we added the singular form for “pictures”. This is because Google uses strict phrase match logic for negative keywords.

Researching negatives with Amazon

Doing the same with Amazon, we see the following autocomplete suggestions.

Amazon autocomplete
Screenshot of Amazon’s autocomplete suggestions for the search “red roses”
Found negatives

And in the resulting search page we find many new negatives.

Found negatives

Reviewing an N-Gram analysis

If you’ve done an N-Gram analysis, the data provided by it can be invaluable for finding commonly searched words that are frequently triggering your ads.

Other places you can research

Google Trends

Google Trends is a great way to explore search terms, and in this case, to review their Related queries section for additional negatives.

Google Trends
The Related queries section in Google Trends, showing for “red roses”.


SpyFu offers some access to information for free, and is a worthwhile resource to use.


eBay is another marketplace where sellers generally try to get as many keywords into their titles as possible, giving you lots of new ideas for negatives.


YouTube is technically the world’s second-largest search engine in the world. Quick searches on there can reveal large lists of terms that people get as results just in using your targeted keywords.

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