What Do Your Search Query Reports Say About You?!

Search Query Reports (SQR) in Google Adwords can (and should) completely shape your PPC activity. Ever wondered why one of your keywords on a phrase or broad match isn’t giving you a good clickthrough or conversion rate? Search Query Reports tell you everything you need to know. Your SQR’s can say a few different things:

1 – You Need to Review Your SQR’s More Regularly

By having keywords on phrase and broad (I personally think broad terms should be only used on Branded terms) matches, there are all types of keywords that your ads will trigger for. Some of them will be the right type of keywords, but others really won’t. If you’ve got lots of keywords that you think s*it we shouldn’t be appearing for that, then you need to look at SQR’s on a more regular basis. Place negative keywords against:

  • Products you don’t sell
  • Anything that would make your brand look bad appearing against, such as ‘scams’, ‘worst place to buy xx’
  • Things showing in the wrong ad groups – i.e a competitor term might come up on a phrase match in one ad groups, but you have an ad group just for competitor terms – so place it as a negative in this ad group so it shows in the ad group which will have the best ad copy/landing page (see point 3)

2 – You Should Add More Keywords & Restructure Your Ad Groups

A Search Query Report isn’t the best way to find new keywords, mainly because it only shows keywords that have triggered impressions and clicks. But one of the things you should do with your Search Query Reports is to add any search terms you don’t have as keywords. There are many benefits of doing this – separate bids for keywords, ability to review the keyword individually and limit the amount of keywords you have on phrase match.

The more keywords you do add though, the more of a need there is to tightly group your keywords. Restructuring your ad groups with just a few related keywords allows you to tailor ad copy, link to relevant landing pages which in turn improves clickthrough rate (quality score) and conversion rates.

3 – You Have Overlapping Keywords

On large accounts (or even smaller ones), it’s possible that keywords on phrase or broad match have some conflicts between campaigns and ad groups. Don’t give Google a choice which ad it shows for a given keywords, as it will do this based on ad rank. Instead, run a report showing where you have conflicts and add cross campaign negatives to make sure your keywords are as tight as possible.

4 – People Search for Strange Things – Give Yourself a Laugh

Okay, isn’t as important as the first 3 points but people really do search for some strange things. If you want a reason to look at search queries, other than for the above then do it just to give yourself a laugh. No matter what industry your PPC accounts are in, you’ll always find some keywords that amuse you.

Weird things people search for

Users unusual searching habits also highlight that people sometimes don’t search in the way you would usually conduct your keyword research. People use Google as though they are talking to a friend and use long questions – i.e ‘What time does xx shut on Sundays?’. Whereas you might only have ‘opening times xx’ as a keywords, so the way in which people search show that you could be potentially missing out on a lot of clicks and impressions.

Other tips on using Search Query Reports:

  • It should be a regular report that you run – not just once every so often. Schedule some time to do it monthly
  • Don’t ignore putting keywords as negatives just because they haven’t got a lot of traffic – they could do in the future so prevent your ad from showing on keywords you don’t want now
  • Don’t just add new keywords from the report and ignore them – monitor the performance, CPC’s and make sure the ad copy fits the ad group to which you added it to.

Got your own tips on effectively using Search Query Reports, feel free to share them below (along with any strange search terms you’ve seen!)

Thanks for reading 🙂


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