Essentially, with Google Ads you say to Google ‘I want to show my ad for users who search for these keywords’ – and then you provide that list of keywords.
Having said that, depending on how you supply this list to Google (i.e. what ‘match types’ you use) you give Google varying degrees of lenience when it concerns matching your intended key words to a user’s search.
This can bring about your ads showing for searches that may not be genuinely relevant to what you’re selling.
For example, you may want to advertise for ‘new home building’ since you operate a building firm.
But unfortunately, Google could assume that an individual looking ‘new home building jobs’ is a close enough match and display your ad.
Next thing you know, an individual trying to find a job is clicking on your ad (and you end up paying out). This is not what we want!.
This is where negative keywords make themselves useful. You say to Google ‘if a user’s search features this word (or phrase) then don’t show my ad’.
So in the example mentioned above, you ‘d add ‘job’ as a negative keyword to prevent your ad showing for people looking for new home building jobs.
This quick video I made discusses the concept of negative keywords, match types, and why getting this right is so crucial: