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What is the Search Term Report?

Confused as to what this is and how it’s important to you? Well, the Search Term Report is the section you find inside Google Ads where you can see your search terms.

When you’re logged into your account, simply go to the “Keywords” section, and then you’ll see another link that says “search terms”. Click that and you’ll see all these amazing data.

The search term report is one of the most important things that you can pay attention to in your account.


Well, it’s going to show you the search terms that led to people clicking on your ad. These search terms are different from keywords. 

You set up the keywords in your campaign, right? In your mind, you’re thinking: “I want to show my ad to people searching for these keywords.”  But look again, because you may find out that the keywords you target are not always the same as the search terms that people are actually typing in and triggering your ad. 

This is why it’s very important to pay attention to the search term report.

When I find problems in people’s campaigns, a lot of the time, it has to do with the search terms. They are getting traffic from a particular search term that is of low value to them. They’ve added a keyword that they thought would be good to target, and Google has decided that a particular search term is going to have ads triggered for it.

This happens no matter what matchtype you are using (exact match keywords, phrase match keywords, and especially broad match keywords). You’re going to get traffic from things outside of those actual keywords that you’ve added. 

What Google thinks is a related search term vs. what is actually a good search term are often very different things. So you could be running the campaign for a year, and your ad is actually showing up for something that you would never want your ad to show up for. The only way to know that that is happening is to look at search term report

Once you’re in the Search Term Report, you can look at all kinds of different data for these specific searches. You can see:

  1. How many impressions your ads are getting
  2. What the Clickthrough rate is
  3. How many conversions you’re getting
  4. Other important data

You can also segment this report by:

  1. Device–You can see if you’re getting searches for a particular term more frequently on mobile vs. computer.
  2. Network–splitting out the search partner traffic. 

After looking at the actual numbers, look at the results and see how these search terms are performing in order to determine what can you do with all of these data:

1) Remove bad search terms or keywords from your campaign. 

When something is bad, and you don’t want it there anymore, that’s when you add a negative keyword. You can add this as an exact match negative keyword if you just want to stop exact instances of a search term from triggering your ad. 

2) Shorten the search term. 

Maybe there’s a word in there that tips you off to think that “I never want my ad to show to anyone that included that particular word in their search”. In that case, you can just add a broad match negative keyword. It will block the search terms that you’ve found. And it will block other similar search terms that are using that word.

3) Add good keywords to your campaigns. 

If you’ve found a keyword in the search term report that wasn’t already a keyword in your campaign, that means the keyword in your campaign is causing the ad to show for several different keywords. 

Although that’s not the best way to be able to optimize, I like to have as many keywords as possible added to the campaign so that I can adjust, if necessary for specific keywords. And I can’t do that if there are a hundred different search terms all being tied to the same keyword within my campaign. If I find a good keyword that I want to have in the campaign, what I would do in that case is add that as an exact match keyword.

What’s the bottom line?

Search Term Report = Super Important! 

You should look at this every time you start going into an account. Look at the all-time Search Term information. Once you’ve done that, you can look at a shorter date range. Set the date back to the last time you looked at the search term report, look at the new stuff that’s showing up on the report now, and deal with it appropriately.

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  1. […] your account’s SEARCH TERM REPORT, sometimes you’ll find keywords or phrases that people have “supposedly” typed in to a search […]

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