If you haven’t already heard, Google has recently made changes to their match types (don’t worry, I’ll get to that later) but with that change comes a growing importance of completing regular search query reports (also known as search term reports). I’m going to take you on a whistle-stop tour of why they’re gaining prominence & how to effectively do a search query report and use your findings to make important potentially money-saving decisions.

what is a search query report?

A search query report is a premade, extremely valuable report from Google. It will show you how your ads performed when triggered by searches from users in the Google Search Network. In a search query report you’ll see which Keyword, Ad Group and Campaign has been triggered by the exact words or phrases a user has searched in Google.

You can use the information that you can find in a search query report to save money and up performance, and I’m going to show you how!

why is doing regular search query reports so important?

So earlier when I mentioned Google making changes to their match types, that has made a search query report so much more important. What changes were made though?

Last year Google made it so exact match keywords match to more than just exactly that keyword, and following suit, just last week they also updated broad and phrase match keywords. They will now begin matching to search queries that include same-meaning close variants.

This includes matching with paraphrased search terms, same intent search terms and implied words, which will pick up misspellings and plurals. You can find a great guide to the ins and outs of the new way match types work here from Wordstream.

Google came prepared with a 3-point defence strategy for their decision, claiming that advertisers don’t have enough time to find relevant keywords, advertisers get a larger pool of relevant prospects & even if a query doesn’t exactly match your keyword the intent may be all the same.

While I appreciate the positives that will come with this update I think there will still need to be a lot of work done adding negative keywords to accounts off the back of this update, because ultimately there’s probably a lot of unimaginable search terms that loosely relate to some random keywords somewhere that we need to watch out for in the next few months.

search term reports are really important

how do i do a search query report?

You can find the report in the Google Ads interface, I’ll walk you through finding it.

When you’re in the view of the list of campaigns on the right you’ll see ‘Search’, ‘Segment’, ‘Columns’, ‘Reports’ and some more. Click on the reports section.

How To Run A Search Query

After clicking through those steps you’ll find yourself with a view like this which you can then see all the search terms, you can edit what columns are visible and you can download it into excel so you can sift through.

search query reports are important

Now the important bit: How can I use my search query report to make decisions that will save me money and improve my performance?

In seeing all of the search terms you’re appearing for you should be able to use this information for 2 outcomes.

Firstly you can negative out all the naff. There’s probably a lot you don’t need in there & even if it’s slightly relevant you still may not need it. For example, if I was managing Butlins PPC and the SQR was showing me ‘butlins phone number’, make 'phone number' a negative as they’ll find the phone number without making you pay for the click.

Similar to things like postcodes etc. You may also find loads of really seemingly random phrases, I’ve seen ‘red dead redemption 2 gold’ appear too many times for one of my clients that has nothing to do with Red Dead Redemption.

PPC Negative Keywords Cost Meme

Secondly, you can use it to hunt for new keywords. Let’s be honest, Google was right in saying that we don’t know all of the keywords so with an SQR you might get some inspiration for new areas to target some PPC activity.

Now you know how to benefit from an SQR I’ll leave you to it but if you have any questions stemming from this blog post get in touch with one of the Adido team members!

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Meet the author ...

Maddie Crawford

PPC Manager

Maddie has worked in digital marketing since her apprenticeship in 2017 but quickly realised her true passion was in the PPC side of things! Since then she has worked across ...