Although the terms are more or less interchangeable, there is a difference between a keyword and a search query. In PPC, a keyword is a term you're already bidding on, whereas a search query is the actual string of words that a Google user types into the search box in order to trigger your ad. By keeping an eye on the real search queries that lead to impressions and clicks, you can expand and improve your keyword research as well as more cost-effectively execute your AdWords campaigns.
In this article, we'll walk through a five-step process for analyzing the data in your PPC search query reports to make further search marketing gains.
Step 1: Use broad match to find new search queriesIf you're bidding on broad match keywords, it's key to monitor your search queries to learn what your ads are matching against. If you skip this step, you're probably wasting a lot of money on terms that aren't relevant to your business. You could also be missing out on long-tail keyword opportunities and emerging trends in your market.
If you're not using any broad match keywords, you're also leaving opportunities on the table. The phrase match and exact match options give advertisers more control, but the broad match option allows you to find new queries that are relevant to your offerings. Using broad match and monitoring your search queries helps you accomplish two goals:
The next steps will demonstrate how you can carry out these two tasks:
Step 2: Pull the necessary reports in AdWordsOnce you're racking up search queries through broad match, the next step is to pull some reports so you can analyze the data. These are some of the questions you'll want to be able to answer about search query performance:
To start getting some answers, you'll need to pull the following three reports:
Gather these three reports into an Excel workbook, with one worksheet for each report.
Step 3: Format your data in ExcelNext you'll need to format your data in a table with columns for:
You'll also need to flag duplicate queries. For more details on formatting your data, click here.
Step 4: Analyze your data for insightsNow you can begin to look for potential new keywords to target as well as negative keyword candidates. In terms of keyword expansion, you'll want to find the search queries that are performing well -- meaning they are driving either conversions or a significant number of clicks -- such that it would be worth paying more attention to them (creating targeted ads, adjusting your bids, etc.).
For negative keyword candidates, you'll want to look for search queries that have:
You can find these data sets using filters (click here to learn more about filtering the data in Excel).
Step 5: Act on your dataFinally, to start seeing results, you'll need to act on your new insights by incorporating them into your AdWords campaigns.
For your keyword expansion activities, you might want to group your new keywords before adding them to AdWords, making use of a grouping tool like WordStream's free keyword grouper. You can then create these as new ad groups or map them into existing ad groups in your campaigns.
Your negatives can be added directly into AdWords, though you may want to adjust settings for individual negative keywords.
Once you have your spreadsheets set up, you can repeat this process on a regular basis, continuing to grow your campaigns and weed out underperformers.
Elisa Gabbert is the content development manager at WordStream Inc.
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