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I am seeing some weird words in the keyword planner like the following: lingerie -ebay with lots of search volume.

In search that would mean "show me results for lingerie but exclude ebay".

However the search volume for lingerie and lingerie -ebay is exactly the same.

So what is this mysterious minus?

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When you use the minus sign, it makes the following word a "negative keyword". Here is an article about it that states:

You need to add a minus sign before each keyword to add them as negative keywords in Google AdWords. For example, if you are selling only cameras and not camera bags, adding "-bags" as a negative keyword will not trigger your ad when someone searches for "camera bags."

The negative keyword is applied in the adwords planner. It means "How many people searched for 'lingerie' without including the keyword 'ebay' as well". It doesn't tell you have many people used the minus operator in Google search to exclude ebay from their search results. I'm not aware of a way that you can get that information from Google.

In addition to specifying negative keywords at the keyword level, you can also specify them at the ad group, or campaign level.

The keyword volume for people searching for "lingerie ebay" is very low. Because of this the keyword volume for "lingerie" is approximately the same as the keyword volume for "lingerie -ebay". Here is a screenshot from the keyword planner:

keyword planner for lingerie

Google is rounding these figures. They mean that there are approximately one million monthly searches for "lingerie". It could be as low as 950,000 or maybe even as high as 1,499,000. When you take 210 away from 1 million, you get a number so close to 1 million that it gets rounded back to 1 million.

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  • So basically adwords will show me how many people search for lingerie excluding ebay? Those searches should be a lot less then searches for simply lingerie, but its the same estimate? Nov 1 '13 at 10:29
  • With only 210 people searching for "lingerie ebay" each month, there isn't enough volume for that to make a dent when you take those searches out of the "lingerie" search. I've updated the answer with a screenshot. Nov 1 '13 at 10:38
  • so basically the tools doesnt show me how many people exclude ebay in searches? If there isnt enough volume i thought it should display 0 volume for "lingerie -ebay". Not sure im getting this. Nov 1 '13 at 10:47
  • just to clear up, i want to be able to find out how many people hate certain brands (or words) and actively exclude them when searching. Nov 1 '13 at 10:48
  • I added some information to the answer about how rounding plays into it. Nov 1 '13 at 10:51

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