DJ PPC Tip: Use Negative Keywords to Stop Wasting Money

September 1, 2019 by Matthew Campbell

In my last article, you learned about keyword phrase match types to help stop spending money wastefully in Google Ads with your target keywords.  Today, I will cover how to add negative keywords so that your ads do not show in searches that will not result in a lead or are irrelevant to your business.   Negative keywords prevent your ads from displaying for particular keywords and keyword phrases that you indicate in a negative keyword list.

Before adding negative keywords, you first must know what searches your ads are showing for in Google.  To do so, you must navigate to the search terms report.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click All Campaigns in the navigation pane on the left, then click Keywords in the page menu.
  3. Click Search terms at the top of the page.
Google Ads search terms report

Google Ads search terms report

Then, scan through the list of search terms (specific searches when your ad showed to a searcher in Google) to see if any of the searches are unrelated to your business or searches that will ultimately not generate business.  As an example, if you are targeting the phrase “las vegas wedding DJs” and one of the search terms is “las vegas wedding DJ sued”, you will want to have the word “sued” as a negative keyword.

Once you find a word or phrase you do not want to show your ads for, select the box next to the keyword phrase.  Select as many as you wish from the list.  Then, a bar will appear at the top to have the ability to add your desired words/phrases as a negative word or phrase.

Add negative keywords

Add negative keywords

You can add negative keywords at 3 different levels: Ads Groups, Campaigns and a shared negative keyword list.  If you can envision a triangle, the Ad Group is at the top with limited searches and a shared negative keyword list can be used across your whole Google Ads account.  In the example above, you would never want any ad to show when the word “sued” is included.  In this instance, I would recommend adding “sued” to a shared negative keyword list.

Add negative keyword in Google Ads

Add negative keyword in Google Ads

Ad Groups live inside of Campaigns.  Negative keywords in a Campaign will be allocated to all Ad Groups living inside of the Campaign.  Lastly, a shared negative keyword list can be allocated to any campaign inside of your Google Ads account.  How do you create a shared negative keyword list in Google Ads?  First, navigate to Toole & Settings at the very top.  Then, select “Negative Keywords List” under the Shared Library column.  Here is a screenshot:

Select negative Keyword List

Select negative Keyword List

Once inside, you can easily create your first negative keyword list by clicking the blue plus button.  Name it “My Negative Keyword List” and add any initial keywords you want to add.  Here is a great list of negative keywords to consider from the onset of your advertising journey.  Once you have a list created, you will need to assign it to your campaigns.  You can select all campaigns or just the ones you think that would benefit from a universal negative keyword list.

Apply negative keyword list list to campaigns

Apply negative keyword list to campaigns

One thing to remember is that you can use the same match types used in your ads’ keywords in your list of negative keywords.  For example, if you don’t want your ads to show for block party searches, you will not want to have block party as a negative keyword because now your ad will not show for any phrase with the word party in it.  The negative keyword block party without any search match type designations make it a broad match to searches conducted.  Thus, your ad will not show for wedding party DJs.  BUT, if you were to encapsulate the words block party with quotes to make it a phrase match like this: “block party”, now your ads will only NOT show for searches that include: block party.

In conclusion, you must add negative keywords for your Google ads to run more effectively.  Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing on irrelevant searches.  You can add your negative keywords to an ad group, campaign or a shared negative keyword list.  Don’t forget to use match types in your negative keyword list so that you prevent ads not showing for searches you were hoping to show for.

If you wish to learn more about negative keywords, visit this Google Ads reference.

Next, I will cover how to set-up Google Ads campaigns and Ad Groups.

Matthew Campbell Matthew Campbell (19 Posts)

Matthew Campbell is the founder of My Wedding Songs. He DJ’d weddings, parties, and High School dances in Montana during the 90s – and also attended a few Mobile Beat Conferences. Matt continued his love of music through the creation of My Wedding Songs. He and his wife, Sharon, live in the wedding capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. My Wedding Songs is a charter member of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce. Matthew is also an SEO Specialist and PPC Manager at Horizon Web Marketing since 2014.


Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Sales & Marketing