Use the pre-defined search terms report in Google AdWords to find negative keywords

April 7, 2017 – By Aaron Hockel for AltaVista Strategic Partners

What is the search terms report?

This pre-defined AdWords report offers tremendous value and is a great tool for improving overall campaign performance. Appropriately named, the search terms report provides the exact terms that were actually searched and triggered ad impressions, clicks, CPC, CTR, and conversions. For beginner level AdWords users, this report provides insights to easy account adjustments that will save money and boost account performance.

Accessing the search terms report

One reason this report is great for beginner users is that it is extremely easy to access. As a pre-defined report, it only takes a few clicks to download. Here is how you do it:

Step One:
First, navigate to your Google AdWords account and select “Repots” from the top of the page. This will take you to the Reports homepage where you can easily access the pre-defined reports.


AdWords Search Terms Report 1

Step Two:
The “Search terms” report is a pre-defined report, so do not click the red button to create a new report, but rather click the “Pre-defined reports” button right next to it. Follow the menu navigations to “Search terms”.
AdWords Search Terms Report 3

Step Three:
Finally, use the drop downs to select the timeframe for your report and then use the download arrow to select your file format. This will prompt your download, ask you to rename the file, and you are done. These drop downs are boxed in red below:

search terms 3

Two ways to improve AdWords performance using the Search terms report

Users can review the search terms report to find new negative keywords and identify underperforming keywords that may require a bid increase to start drawing clicks. Checkout this example chart that contains the type of data found on the search terms report:

Example Search Terms Report

Let’s assume the report belongs to a residential roofer who specializes in replacing shingled roofs on single family homes. Here is how the report could be interpreted to make account changes:

Negative Keyword Research:

  • Consider “GAF” as a negative keyword to avoid paying for clicks for specific brands of roof shingle
  • Consider adding “repair” as a negative keyword because this roofer is only looking for replacements, not repairs.
  • Consider adding “flat” as a negative keyword because this roofer only does work on steep slope roofs

Keyword Based Bid Adjustments:

  • Increase our bid for the keyword group drawing impressions but not clicks for “replace house roof”
  • Decrease our bid for the keyword group drawing a high CPC and CTR for “shingle roof repair”

Looking at just the negative keyword additions, our example roofer would save $44.39 per month. This savings could then be used to buy two more clicks for “replace house roof” or cover the costs of increasing our bid for clicks on “shingle roof replacement”.

Have questions about Google AdWords reporting or your online marketing strategy as a whole? The team at AltaVista works with all types of residential and commercial contractors to help them build and execute growth oriented marketing plans. Schedule a free consultation today by filling out the contact form on this page, calling us at 1-800-313-2168, or by sending us an email.

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