Google Search Terms Report

The important, but often ignored SEARCH TERMS Report:

Oftentimes this report goes ignored in Google Ads. It’s not prominently displayed. It’s tucked under the keywords drop down on the left-hand navigation rail. Since ‘search terms’ and ‘search keywords’ sound so similar, many campaign managers and business owners think they are the same thing. They most certainly are not. While search keywords are the keywords you research, select, and add to your campaigns, search terms are the ACTUAL terms users are typing into Google before clicking your ads. Thanks to different matchtypes in Google (phrase, broad, etc) a search term may not be very relevant to your keyword. For example, if you have the keyword ‘ford f-150’ in phrase or broad match, then Google can easily match your keyword to searches such as ‘cheap f-150’, ‘f-150 recalls’, ‘ford f-150 manual’, ‘ford f-150 giveaway’ and so on. Most advertisers would agree that they would not want to buy this kind of traffic when they are trying to spend click budget on selling new Ford F-150s. Another example may be a personal injury attorney bidding on the keyword ‘injury attorney’, but with broad matching this could easily receive traffic for searches such as ‘pro bono injury attorney’ or ‘funny injury attorney commercial’. Both of which would be unwanted clicks and wasted spend.

Focusing on your Search Terms report can help you do 2 very important things.

  1. Obviously, it’s a great way to find new negative keywords (keywords you do not wish to trigger your ads) which not only saves you wasted clicks on poor searches, your ad will stop showing altogether for these poor searches likely increasing your CTR (click-through-rate) which will increase quality scores and lower your cost-per-click.
  2. The 2nd perk is to help you identify relevant search terms matching close variants of your keyword. In this case, you would want to add the search term for increased relevancy. For example, if you are buying the keyword ‘ford f-150’ and notice in the search terms report that the term ‘buy ford f-150’ is matching to your keyword ‘ford f-150’. Since ‘buy ford f-150’ was not a keyword in your campaign and only broad matching to the keyword ‘ford f-150’, adding ‘buy ford f-150’ will now be an exact match to the user’s search moving forward. This will improve your quality score since it is now matching the user’s search query precisely.

I make it a habit to pull my search terms report once a month for every single campaign I have running and add both new keywords based on relevant search terms and negative keywords based on poor search terms.

I will end this blog with a horror story example. I was once doing an audit for a large cyber security and anti-virus software company. In my research, they had a campaign for ‘IDS’ or Intrusion Detection System. Unfortunately, this campaign had zero negative keywords since the search term report had not been pulled in years. This resulted in thousands of searches and clicks for the term ‘fake ids’ that cost the company tens of thousands of dollars in poor, irrelevant clicks. Ouch. Moral of the story? Show some love to your search term reporting every month before things get out of hand and you end up wasting budget on horrific traffic.

If you need an assist in pulling this reporting or have any questions about how to improve your Google Ads campaigns reach out to me at Miller Ad Agency 972.243.2211. Just ask for Alex and I will be happy to assist.