PPC Tips: Using Negative Keywords for Lead Generation

Use these keywords to spare your budget from traffic that’s destined not to convert.

Every great PPC campaign has a hard-won list of keywords. Getting there is expensive, but one way to cut costs is to avoid words that don’t convert. That means more than just removing them from your keywords list. You need to use “negative keywords.”

All the major PPC networks let you block your ads from users who have entered a specific word or phrase, even if you have broad match set up for part of the term the user searched.

A Quick Example

If a user searches for “free money,” then chances are they aren’t interested in paying the fees and interest associated with a loan. So, this user likely won’t covert.

If you have a broad match “money” in your keyword list, then you’re probably getting traffic from people searching for “free money.”

After you add “free” to your list of negative keywords, you’ll stop receiving this kind of bad traffic.

There are many other words and phrases you should avoid. Maintaining this list can be as important as any other piece of the PPC puzzle.

The Unconvertable

Here are several types of users to keep from seeing your ads, as well as some negative keywords you can use to avoid them:

Information Seekers

You don’t run an online school, so don’t pay for users looking for an education. You don’t want users to click on your ad who only want to learn more about the loan industry. (Some try to drive this traffic thinking that they can teach a user what they want to know and then convert them. That might be true, but you’d be better off spending your money on people who are ready to convert.)

Sample Words: About, Articles, Blogs, School, Bulletins, Case Studies, Classes, Document, Documents, Examples, Guides, Help, Information, Instructions, Journals, Learn, Magazines, Opinions, Schools, Seminars, Statistics, Theory, Training, University, What.

Those Who Need Legal Help

From affiliates to debtors, everyone ends up needing a banking and finance lawyer. Don’t waste your marketing budget on people looking for help with compliance. They may use “loan” in their search queries, but they aren’t looking for one.

Sample Words: Attorney, Compliance, Counsel, Laws, Lawsuits, Lawyer, Legal, Legislation.

Job Seekers

Those looking for a job in the loan industry will sometimes reach your campaigns. Why they click on your ad is a mystery. Maybe they think you’ll have a job listing on your careers page.

If you aren’t actively looking for new hires, then you should try to avoid this kind of traffic.

Sample Words: Careers, Employers, Employment, Full time, Hire, Hiring, Internships, Jobs, Part time, Positions, Recruiter, Recruitment, Resume, Salary, Work.


Designers don’t like to start from scratch. Before they begin a project, they’ll search the Internet for ideas and inspiration. If you aren’t careful, they’ll click on your ads just to steal your ideas.

Sample Words: Files, Freeware, Hacks, Illustrations, Images, Patches, Pictures, Templates, Videos.

We hope these negative keywords help you optimize your PPC campaigns. If you have any questions on how to get even more out of your traffic, please feel free to reach out to your dot818 account manager.