Adding The ‘Who Done It’ List To Your Negative Keywords

Here is an expert tip on a fairly simple way to save some money on your Google Paid Ads.

How much ad spend you are going to reduce will depend on how much you are currently spending and how many negative keywords you currently are using, but I can tell you that it could be around 3-5% of your ads budget.

For you to save money on unnecessary ad spend what you should do is add what I call the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords to your campaigns.

What is the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords?

This is a list of negative keywords that block question searches from triggering your ads to show. Effectively blocking question searches in both shopping campaigns and search campaigns that utilize either phrase or broad match, this list will eliminate high level searches that rarely if ever directly lead to a sale.

What are these keywords and why do they never or at least very rarely lead to a sale?

Here are some of the words. Read through the list below and think what type of keyword searches these would generate for your campaigns then we will look at examples for one of my private clients:

  • ‘where’
  • ‘how to’
  • ‘how do’ / ‘how you’
  • ‘could I’ / ‘could you’
  • ‘can I’ / ‘can you’
  • ‘should I’ / ‘should you’
  • ‘does a’ / ‘is a’

Why does this list of ‘Who Done It’ keywords rarely if ever lead to a conversion?

Because these keywords are going to generate very high level / low buying intent traffic.

As you read through the list you probably filled in the rest of the question in your head as it comes to your campaigns so perhaps you already know what I mean, but let’s look at some examples:

A private client of mine sells shower drain covers and not the $5 variety from Home Depot, but rather super high-end drain covers starting at about $60.

For his company, he wants traffic from keywords from people searching to replace or install a new drain cover.

Here are some of the searches that contain ‘shower drain’ that adding the ‘Who Done It’ list will block.

  • Where are the screws to uninstall a shower drain?’
  • Hot to install a shower drain?’
  • How do I clean my shower drain?’
  • Could I make my own shower drain cover?’
  • Can I replace my shower drain cover myself?’
  • Should I cover the drain in my basement?’
  • Does a shower drain block water?’

You see the pattern, right?

The pattern is that none of these searches have a very high likelihood of leading to a sale.

Sure, you could serve visitors retargeting ads after they visit your website, but still, it is a longshot. Better to save the money on what it would cost to bring these looky-loos to your website and apply the ads budget you save to traffic with a higher likelihood of converting.

Creating Your Custom List of ‘Who Done It’ Negative Keywords

Besides taking the list of examples above, you may want to know how to customize the list for your account.

The most effective way to find your own ‘Who Done It’ list is by reviewing the terms that have historically driven traffic to your ad campaigns.

If you have been following my writings, you are aware that Google has partially hidden this data within your Google Ads account. However, it is still currently available using Google Analytics. Here is an article that goes into details – Google is Now Playing Hide and Seek with Your Search Terms

Fully detailed in the article mentioned above, here are the steps to access your full list of search terms using Google Analytics Search Queries Report.

  1. Login to Google Analytics (
  2. In the left-hand menu click on ‘Acquisition’
  3. Then, ‘Google Ads’
  4. Then, ‘Search Queries”
  5. Change the date in the upper right to dates you wish to view.
  6. Using the Secondary dimension drop down to add ‘Campaign’. Note, without this step you will be viewing keywords from the entire account.
  7. Change rows to a number that will display all data (default is only 25 rows).
  8. Export data.

Applying Your List of Negative Keywords

One you have your own list of ‘Who Done It’ negative keywords the next step is to add it to your account.

When adding negative keywords, you have 3 choices:

  1. Add them at the ad group level.
  2. Add them at the campaign level
  3. Add them at the account level.

Here we are only going to review adding them to the account level because in my opinion there is no reason to have ‘Who Done It’ traffic in any campaign or ad group.

To quickly add these negative keywords to multiple campaigns, I recommend using a negative keyword list. A negative keyword list will easily let you add or subtract keywords to the ‘Who Done It’ list and quickly apply the list to multiple campaigns.

Here is how to create an implement a negative keyword list.

Create a negative keyword list:

  1. In the top menu, under Shared Library, click ‘Negative Keyword List’
  2. Click the blue plus button.
  3. Name your list and add negative keywords.
  4. Click Save

Apply negative keyword lists to multiple campaigns from the negative keyword library

  1. Click the tools & settings icon Google Ads (in the upper right tool bar) of your account.
  2. Under “Shared library,” click Negative keyword lists.
  3. Check the box next to the negative keyword lists you want to apply to campaigns.
  4. Click Apply to campaigns.
  5. Select the campaigns you’d like to apply the negative keyword lists to.
  6. Click Apply.


Blocking searches using the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords only works when using manual shopping campaigns. With smart shopping campaigns, you can’t block unwanted keyword searches and you won’t even be able to tell how many ‘Who Done It’ searches you are receiving. Yet just another reason to avoid Smart Shopping campaigns.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is going to effectively block the higher purchase intent traffic or the traffic which is the furthest away from making a purchase.

In the image above, the ‘Who Done It’ list is going to block the awareness to interest group. Typically, those website visitors are a long way from purchasing and not profitable to serve Google paid ads.

Ideally when we are looking to drive traffic from Google at a minimum, we want traffic in the intent to evaluation stage or those looking to make a purchase.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is one way to effectively ensure we are getting this qualified, purchase intent traffic to our Google Shopping and Search campaigns.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal


Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit or read The Full Story on his website or his blog,