But don’t feel overwhelmed! The beauty of keyword research with PPC is that once you’ve done your initial research and let your campaigns run for a bit, you can use a hand-dandy little report called the Search Query Report to find new and interesting keywords with the click of a button.
The Search Query Report
What is the Search Query Report? In short, it’s a report that tells you the exact search terms that resulted in the click of your ad. Ever wonder what words you’re really paying for? The Search Query Report will tell you that.
And it’s a goldmine of opportunity, especially for newer advertisers who are bidding on more broad and phrase match terms. Broad and phrase match types can do weird things sometimes, matching you to words that make no sense. The Search Query Report can be used to weed out those terms to save you money. Other things the Search Query Report will give you:
- New Keywords
- Common Misspellings
- New Product Ideas
- Common Issues Your Product Must Discuss/Overcome
Overall the Search Query Report is the best way to understand, sort, add to, and optimize the keywords in your account. And it’s the quickest and easiest method to cut fat from your keywords and turn your account into a lean, mean keyword machine. Stop wasting money and pull yours today!
Pulling the Search Query Report
To pull the report, access your Adwords account and go to Reporting–> Reports–> Create New Report and select the “Search Query Performance” button. As you use the report, you will decide what “Level of Detail” you prefer under “Settings.” For now, leave the default “Ad” option selected. Then for date choose a date range that will give you enough data to work with. For smaller advertisers, I would choose at least a month. For larger accounts, two weeks is acceptable.
Next, go to Advanced Settings–> Add or Remove Columns. This is where you select the data you would like to see. I have taken the liberty of supplying a screen shot of the criteria I usually choose. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Now name your report (I name mine “Search Query Report”), save as template (you are going to use this a lot, you can even schedule it!), and enter an e-mail where you’d like the CSV file e-mailed (optional). Now press “Create Report”!
Analyzing the Results and Taking Action
When I first open this report in Excel, I like to do some sorting. First, I sort by Impressions, then by Clicks (both from largest to smallest). This will allow me to start with the most important words first, that is, words with the highest volume and words that spend the most. Go through the list, search query by search query. I usually add two tabs to my Excel spreadsheet: “Negatives” and “Questionable.” Words that are okay and I’d like to add to an Adgroup or Campaign stay on the main tab. I cut over all data to the “Negatives” tab when I would like to make a word negative and cut over all data to the “Questionable” tab when I’m unsure of a word. By the end I have 3 lists: “Add (original main tab)”, “Negative”, “Questionable.”
At this point, I review the questionable tab and decide on the words. Some may need more thought and that’s fine. Keep in mind when reviewing that you want people in the mode to buy (or whatever your target action is.) So words like “review,” “advice,” and the like may not be the best since they’re still in research mode and may not be ready to part with money. Keep this in mind.
When To Pull
The frequency with which you pull this report is depdentent on the size and volume of your account. The best way to decide how frequently to pull the Search Query Report is by trial and error. If a month’s worth of data provides too many keywords to sort, try pulling every 2 weeks instead. The main points here are:
- Pull frequently enough to catch trends or bad keywords before it’s too late.
- Pull frequently enough so that you have enough data to make decisions with but not too much that it’s overwhelming.
Tips to Keep In Mind
There are some small nuances of this report that you must understand.
1. The Search Query Report only gives data on search queries that resulted in a click on your add. Therefore, you do not get incite into the search terms done that were merely impressions — searches done that your ad didn’t grab. You will want to pull a Keyword Report and dive deeper into why these keywords don’t get clicks. But that’s the subject of another post.
2. The Search Query Report will deliver search queries with low impression volume and/or low click volume. Personally I add everything, regardless of volume. I then use the Keyword Report to determine whether or not to keep it in my account.
3. When adding keywords, may close attention to where they are going. With very complex accounts, a keywords may be negative in one Campaign or Adgroup and may be added as a new keyword in another Campaign. This kind of piecemeal choosing is common, especially as your account grows and becomes more sophisticated. It’s perfectly fine to do and will aid in your sculpting. Just pay close attention to what you are doing and GO SLOW.
That about wraps up using the Search Query Report. Be sure to use this report regularly and I can guarantee your ROI and Quality Score will improve. Letting an account run without this report is like throwing your wallet out the window. And that seems pretty silly, especially with the Search Query Report at your fingertips. Try running it today. You can thank me later!
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