AdWords Search Terms Report - How to Use It

by Jason Lipton on 31 May 2015

The AdWords Search Terms report is a goldmine of great keyword information - telling you what your potential customers are actually typing into Google to find your product or service - and also telling you which irrelevant search terms might be wasting your budget. If you have someone running your AdWords account for you, they will hopefully be using this on a regular basis, but it's also good for you to be aware of it. So, here's how to use and get the most out of the report…

To access the search terms report, click into one of your campaigns and then on the Keywords tab. Then, under Details > SEARCH TERMS click on All. This will show you all the search terms that are generating one of your ads within the date range selected in the top right (TIP – to make this list more manageable, you might want to click on one ad group first so you can just view the search terms data for that ad group. And if you want to see the search terms for a specific keyword, tick the box on the left next to the relevant keyword before going to Details > SEARCH TERMS - Selected). One great thing about the report is that as with your other keyword data, you see both impressions (the number of times one of your ads is shown for that search term) and then also clicks.

Click on the Added/Excluded column header and it will filter the data with all the Added terms at the top. This means that these terms have already been added as keywords in your account - and you can see from the Match Type column whether they are Exact, Phrase or Broad Match. All the other search terms with None indicated have not been actively added to your account, but are triggering one of your ads.

If you take a look through the list, you may see some really useful, relevant search terms that you are happy to include in your account going forward. If so, these can be added by ticking the box on the far left and then clicking the 'Add as keyword' button above. TIP – when adding a keyword in this way you can change the match type by adding the appropriate characters:

[exact match]
"phrase match"
broad match
+modified +broad +match

Alternatively you may see terms in the report that are clearly not relevant and are just generating your ad because of a Broad or Phrase Match type selection (Broad, Modified Broad and Phrase Match types are great for allowing other search terms to generate your ad that you may not have otherwise thought of, but they can also allow irrelevant queries and clicks which means wasted budget). To make sure one of your ads doesn’t get generated for these search terms, you will want to add them as negatives - tick the box on the far left next to the irrelevant keyword and then click the 'Add as negative keyword' button above. You may be amazed at how many people will click on your ad when it is clearly not relevant to their query - so it's best to make sure you eliminate these irrelevant terms as soon as possible.

You may also see terms in the report that you feel are better suited to other ad groups, in which case you can add them to the relevant ad group. This ensures that the most appropriate ad for that term is being served to your potential customers.

Here's the official AdWords video for How to find and run a Search Terms report:

Another great benefit of collecting all this search term/keyword data is that it can then be used in other aspects of your marketing e.g. SEO and content generation.

So, what are you waiting for? Start drilling down into the actual search terms that are generating your PPC ads, refine your keywords for an even greater ROI and get valuable keyword data that can be used elsewhere in your business!

And if you need someone to manage your PPC account - or want to get your in-house team trained in PPC management, then get in touch today!

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