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Here is A Coronavirus Placement Exclusion List for Google Ads

Here is A Coronavirus Placement Exclusion List for Google Ads

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

After a client requested that we pull their ads off of as many news sites as possible because of the increasing Covid-19 Pandemic, we thought it made sense to cease marketing to these unique web pages as people seek out information about the pandemic. Therefore we compiled this placement list from ZATO clients of various news organizations websites to exclude, and thought we would share it with the broader PPC community. Feel free to add them in as exclusions if you feel so inclined.

PLEASE NOTE: these are by no means comprehensive lists and we are updating it as we go, and there may be holes in this list. If you have your own list that you think would be helpful to add and you would be willing to share it, please email it to so we can investigate it.Excluding website URLs at the account level in Google Ads is quite easy.You can add placement lists here:

how to exclude placement lists in google ads

>> Access the List: News Org URLs to Exclude in Google Ads

Note the above link will take you to a shared Google Drive spreadsheet.To compile this first list, we identified placement exclusions by filtering for words such as:

  • post
  • herald
  • times
  • news
  • gazette

We realize that there will be some level of over-exclusion here, but we figured this was a good place to start for clients who would to initially pull out of News Org ad placements during this increased tragic event.

>> Access the List: Coronavirus URLs to Exclude in Google Ads

Note the above link will take you to a shared Google Drive spreadsheet.We also began to pull together a second exclusion list of the most common Website URLs including words like:

covid-19 coronavirus placement exclusions for Google Ads
  • pandemic
  • coronavirus
  • covid19

However, as you can see from the list, our ability to search out these placements appearing in our clients was constrained. I think that's probably a good thing, since it could mean there haven't been a ton of people taking advantage of those terms to make money on AdSense. However, it could also be that we haven't found them yet and they're out there.If you have your own list of these terms in URLs and want to share them, please email it to so we can investigate.

A few other factors to be aware of here:

Important Ecommerce Note:

If you utilize Smart Shopping Campaigns, make sure to add these in as account level placement exclusions, *not* just as a placement exclusion list since Exclusion Lists don't currently play nice with Google Smart Shopping Campaigns.More information for adding these in as account level exclusions can be found in our post here: How to Exclude Placements in Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Make sure to also exclude Content at an Account Level:

Don't forget that Google does have the option to exclude your entire account from various, non-specific entities in the Content Exclusions. That can be found here:

exclude topics account level in google ads

Interesting News Site Conversion Observation

This is more anecdotal than anything else. But if anything, going over a bunch of news placements filtered out in the GDN has shown me one thing... News Org placements don't typically convert very well as it is!  Even if you don't think it's the right call for your company to exclude all News placements for the Coronavirus Pandemic, you may want to investigate excluding this list for the profit itself you may gain.

Suggestion for Google Ads on adding individual URL word exclusions

Lastly, I'll jump up on a soapbox, albeit small, and use this chance to again request that Google Ads allow for individual keyword exclusions within placement lists, for *exactly* times like this. If we could simply add in the keyword "coronavirus" so any URL that includes that word in it is automatically excluded... that would go a long way in easing troubled executive minds during an already stressful event. Food for thought!So there you have it, I hope that is helpful to you in this difficult time. Use them if you want, share them if you find this post valuable.Stay Healthy!

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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