What is a Search Terms Report on Google Ads and how do you use it?

What is a Search terms Report?

Search terms on Google indicate the users’ intent. Google Ads provides a Search Terms Report, with a list of search terms that matched your keyword and for which your campaign’s ads were served. This report also contains detailed stats for each search term to help you decide your next steps. You can use this information to grasp evolving search trends for your campaigns, explore new keyword opportunities or improve targeting for your campaigns.

Before we look at a search term report, let us first see how you can access the Search Terms Report.

How to access the Search terms Report on Google Ads dashboard

Follow steps mentioned below to access the Search Terms Report on your Google Ads account

  1. Login to your Google Ads dashboard
  2. Click on the Campaigns icon in the sidebar
  3. Select Insights and reports: In the menu, select “Insights and reports”. You will then see a list of options.
  4. Select Search Terms: In the list of options, click “Search Terms.” This will take you to the search terms report.

Now that we know how to access the Search Terms Report, lets look at how to make sense of it.

How to make sense of the Search Terms Report?

Reviewing the Search Terms Report can be overwhelming not just for first-timers, but also for seasoned Google Ads campaign managers. We recommend maintaining a checklist and approach this like an audit. Let us now look at some of the things you should review on your search terms report, along with actions to take to resolve any issues.

Identify search terms that are unrelated to the campaign’s keywords

Let’s say your business sells mobile phones, and the ad campaign has the keyword “mobile phones”. But you may discover some unrelated search terms such as “phone cases” and “desk phones”

These search terms could either be opportunity or irrelevant to your campaign. So the action you take will depend on the stats for the search term.

If you were selling phone cases on your website, the search term “phone cases” could be driving you traffic, with good conversions. This is a search term you should keep if the ROAS on conversions are good enough for you. Infact, add it as a keyword to your campaign.

On the contrary, the “desk phones” search term could be using your ad budget to drive traffic to your website when you don’t actually sell desk phones. This is a search term you don’t want. You could add this to the negative keyword list right away.

Identify search terms that have no conversions

Over time, you will notice search terms on your report without conversions. There is no use spending on a search term that brings you no business. Such keywords are better added to the negative search terms list. Check out our other article about managing negative keywords for Google Ads campaigns.

Identify search terms that have a very bad ROAS

Some search terms have a very high bid range and advertising on them does not make sense if the ROAS is bad (whatever ROAS makes sense for your business).

Identify search terms that show up in more than one ad group for your campaign

This indicates that the campaign’s paid traffic is not sculpted well.

Ensure to check why the search term is triggering ads in more than one ad group and fix it. This could mean that your keywords are common or similar between ad groups. The easy solution is to add the search term as negative keywords to any ad group that it should not be associated with.

Identify search terms with bad landing page scores

Lookup any search terms on the report that have bad landing page scores and bad conversions too. This could be a case of search terms that need better landing pages. This can be achieved by adding the search term as a keyword to an ad group that has a more relevant landing page (or just create a new ad group).

Identify new search terms with conversions

If you find new search terms, that could mean new trends of online user behavior. Review the search terms and see if they can be added to one of your campaigns’ ad groups.

What next?

Reviewing a search terms report is not just a one-off task. This is something that needs to be done at regular intervals. Like we just showcased above, they help you understand your target audience’s search behavior and also help optimize budgets. How often you should review the search terms report depends on your industry, but we recommend doing this weekly. Feel free to use the the checklist above to speed-run through your search terms audit.