The best negative Google Ads keywords every trade business should know

When it comes to running a successful Google Ads campaign as a trade business, it’s important to focus not only on the keywords that will drive traffic to your site and get the phone ringing but also on the keywords that won’t. Negative keywords can be just as important as positive ones in helping you achieve your advertising goals.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords are words or phrases that you add to your Google Ads campaign to prevent your ads from showing to people who are searching for those terms. By excluding these terms from your campaign, you can avoid wasting money on clicks that are unlikely to lead to conversions (phone calls or email enquiries).

For example, if you’re running a campaign for plumbing services, you might want to exclude keywords like “cheap” or “low cost” since people searching for those terms are likely to be very price sensitive and unlikely to pay a fair price for your services.

Why use negative keywords?

Using negative keywords can help you improve your return on investment (ROI) from your Google Ad campaigns in several ways:

  1. Reduce wasted spend: By excluding irrelevant or low-quality search terms, you can ensure that your ads are only shown to people who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
  2. Improve ad relevance: By focusing your ads on relevant keywords, you can improve their quality score and increase the likelihood that they’ll be shown to people who are searching for what you have to offer.
  3. Increase click-through rate (CTR): By excluding irrelevant keywords, you can improve the relevance of your ads to your target audience, which can increase your CTR and ultimately drive more traffic to your site.

How to find negative keywords

To find negative keywords, start by reviewing your existing campaign data to identify any search terms that are generating clicks but not leading to conversions. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to identify potential negative keywords based on search volume and relevance.

In addition, consider the context of your ad and the audience you’re targeting. Are there any keywords that might be relevant to your services but aren’t a good fit for your specific campaign? These are also good candidates for negative keywords.

Once you’ve identified your negative keywords, add them to your campaign by selecting “Negative Keywords” from the “Keywords” tab in your Google Ads account. From there, you can add negative keywords at the campaign or ad group level.

Top negative keywords for trade business (to help you save wasted clicks and £££’s)

Luckily for you, we’ve managed lots of accounts for local trade businesses and managed ad spend in the hundreds of thousands. Before we make a campaign live, these are the negative keywords we use to save thousands of wasted clicks on Google Ad campaigns for our trade clients.

These negative keywords are applicable for local trades such as plumbers, electricians, or building contractors:

“Low cost”
“How to”
“Cover” (if you don’t offer extended cover services)
Include local competitors
Include services you DON’T want to be seen for
Included national brands you DON’T want to compete with


Using negative keywords can be a powerful tool for improving the performance of your Google Ads campaigns. By excluding irrelevant search terms, you can reduce wasted spend, improve ad relevance, and increase your CTR. By regularly reviewing and refining your negative keyword list, you can ensure that your ads are always targeting the right audience and driving the best possible ROI for your business.