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Find keywords to set to negative match
Find keywords to set to negative match

Weed Out Bad Keyword Matches with SpyFu Kombat

Sidra Condron avatar
Written by Sidra Condron
Updated over a week ago

Looking for one more reason to use SpyFu Kombat?  How about saving your budget?

You know the drill.  You add keywords that are set up to cover your bases through phrase or broad matching. What’s the harm in that? Plenty if you’re not paying attention.

A common hiccup in PPC campaigns is matching on searches that are irrelevant to your product. A searcher can still click through but abandon the landing page when it doesn't fit what they were looking for. You pay for that click and get nothing in return--not even a qualified visitor worth retargeting.

Soon, that keeps you from maximizing your messages that actually convert. The solution is to set keywords to negative match in your Google Ads campaign.

In this article, we'll explain what negative keywords are and 2 ways to find them for your campaign.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords tell Google not to show your ad when a query would match on them. Most often, this is to prevent advertising on something you don't offer.

If you sell specialty seeds and target gardening enthusiasts, you want people to find you when they search for “heirloom tomatoes.” What you don’t want is for someone to see your ad when they are hunting for “heirloom tomato recipes.” That is where negative keywords come in.  Enter “-recipes” into your Google Ads lineup to remove your ads from those related results.

Successful search marketers agree, the best ads specifically answer what is being searched for. That is why popular negative keyword suggestions are “-free trial,” “-repair” and “-discount” unless you are able to provide those.

Accidental traffic is good if they stumble upon your blog, but if you are paying for each click of an ad, you want every visitor primed to buy.

So how does SpyFu help you discover negative keywords that could be overlooked?

You might already be advertising on terms that are irrelevant to your business. But if Google Ads campaigns are made of terms you input, how could that possibly happen?

Match types could be to blame. The way that your ad pops up on keywords you don’t want might be a simple fix.

It's also important to note that Google no longer shows every variant that your ad appeared on in their reports. Even more reason to review your negative match opportunities here.

Here’s how it looked for one advertiser

SpyFu Kombat allows you to compare the paid (or organic) keywords from three or more domains at a time. The diagram you get in the results will sort common keywords between two competitors, common keywords among all three competitors, and keywords exclusive to any of the domains.

Here we are comparing domains that sell tile: Tile Club, Tile Shop, and Floor and Decor .

I clicked on the section of's "potential waste" segment. This is the part of’s circle that doesn’t overlap with either domain.’s ad has appeared on these keywords, but ads from and have not.

Now that I have its exclusive keywords singled out, I can browse for outliers. Scroll down to see the keywords.

Using the filter tools on the left side of the keyword results, switch to Groups. This lets you move through related terms more easily so you can spot what doesn't belong.

If the groups themselves look relevant (carpet, vinyl, and hardwood are all products of, then start clicking into the groups to find keywords for any that don't match your offerings.

The search term that stands out to me is "where to buy oval mother of pearl plate."

A quick Google search told me that tries to match "mother of pearl," but the oval plate phrasing makes this one a bad match. Negative match settings to the rescue!

Another route is to check the domain ( in SpyFu Ad History, and then search the results for that keyword. You can see the ad that was triggered and the number of times that we saw it appear.

With the first-run through SpyFu Kombat, we were able to pinpoint terms that might have come to haunt them down the road.

By entering related competitors into Kombat at the same time, you filter out relevant keywords so that you don’t have to sift through so many to find the outlier(s). It’s a shortcut.

Kombat automatically creates the keyword list that is exclusive to your domain.

So instead of scouring through hundreds of keywords that triggered your ad, you narrow it down to the accidental matches most likely to waste your money. And saving time here saves you time and money in the long run. Goodbye, waste.


One new addition to SpyFu is the "negative keyword recommendations" option inside the interactive Google Ads Advisor. This tool offers our best advice for your PPC campaign, and it's tailored to your specific domain. The nearly-instant recommendations can switch between buy recommendations and keywords we suggest that you set to negative match.

The interactive Google Ads Advisor uses the same competitor comparisons and logic as SpyFu Kombat, but it gives weight to some recommendations over others.

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