What's the problem with modified broad negatives?

Modified broad keywords used* to be the backbone of many Google Ads accounts. You may still be tempted to use them in your negative keyword lists too but beware! Google Ads does not support modified broad negatives.

When you use a + sign in front of a negative keyword (with no space, just like modified broad keywords), Google may not react in the way you expect.

Remember, there are only three negative keyword match types: 

  • Negative exact: Will block queries when the query exactly matches the negative keyword, including the specified word order.

  • Negative phrase: Just like negative exact, but will also block queries with other words before, after or inside the query.

  • Negative broad: Will block any queries that include all of the words in the negative, no matter the order or whether other words are included in the query. In effect, this is the way you might expect modified broad to behave.

Negative keyword targeting doesn’t include close variants – you need to add plurals and any common misspellings to block that traffic.

"+" has no place in your keyword negatives. It's misleading to account managers and we've even heard of Google doing unexpected things with +plussed +negatives. Best to keep it clean!

How does this improvement work?

You'll see this improvement task if we find "modified broad negative" keywords in your negative keyword lists.

We'll show you all of the "modified broad negative" keywords found in your account.

What happens when I push this improvement?

Completing this improvement will remove all "+" signs from your negative keywords. We'll replace them with negative broad keywords.

*In February 2021, Google announced that they are phasing out modified broad keywords. Instead, phrase match will incorporate the behaviours of modified broad keywords. This Improvement is not affected by this change.

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