With all Google Ads and Microsoft Ads (Bing Ads) accounts, it’s not just important to identify the keywords you do want to show up for. It is also essential to identify the keywords you don’t want to show up for. These keywords are called negative keywords.

Usually, this is a list you create at the start of running a campaign by researching what people are searching for and working with your client to identify terms that hint towards something they do not sell or provide. The chances are, this list will also grow over time. By looking at your search query reports (what people are searching for when your ads show up), you’ll likely find a whole bunch of terms to add as negative keywords that you possibly didn’t think of at first.

A change in browsing habits

It goes without saying, with the current pandemic, there has been a major shift in the way people are using search engines. Changes are different across a variety of industries and include; people spending more time searching and performing research before committing to a product or service, higher conversion rates for ecommerce sites, lower click costs and many more. 

We also cannot get away from how many people are sourcing information about Covid-19. Ever since the coronavirus was recognised, the number of searches for terms around Covid and pandemic-related terms has dramatically increased.

covid search trends

Google trends: looking at a small selection of Covid-19 terms over 6 months.

Example Coronavirus negative keywords

To help save time having to research over and over again and to help save you from wasting any money in your account on Covid-based terms, below is a list of keywords that you may want to consider adding to your account(s). 

Please be cautious to read through them first before implementing them. If they are indeed relevant to the business, you could be missing out on a wonderful opportunity to drive lots of traffic to your site.

Staying at home terms

“should i stay at home”
“should i stay home”
“staying home”
“what is lockdown”
“how long will lockdown last”

Job/work terms

“jobs during furlough”
“covid jobs”
“can i work during furlough”
“what is furlough”

Head terms

[covid 19]
“corona virus”

Financial terms

“government grants”
“how to get grant”
“how to get loan”
“am i eligible”

General advice

“how to wash hands”
“covid advice”
“coronavirus advce’

Gratitude for key workers

“say thanks”
“clap for”

Medical terms

“virus test”
“corona test”
“covid test”

Wider terms



Remember that the easiest way to implement these terms is to place them into your shared library and attribute the list to all of your campaigns which require these terms to be excluded.

Whilst there’s no harm in implementing these at campaign level, you may find it takes a lot longer to do it this way and can get a little confusing to manage over time.

What about when it’s all over?

You may be wondering if it’s worth leaving these terms in the account or keeping them running. Whilst we cannot guarantee what searching habits will look like over the months to come, it’s a safe bet that people will still look up terms around Covid-19. For example, we’ll have people using historical information about the case such as journalists and in a number of years we could be telling future generations about this major event in history.

Long answer cut short, leave them in. Unless they are conflicting with the keywords and types of searches you want to show up for, there’s no harm in leaving them in.

Your thoughts

There are likely hundreds of unwarranted search terms cropping up and the lists above won’t have covered them all. Have you found any negative keywords worth sharing? Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Related links

A basic guide to PPC keywords
Ways to save money on Google Ads