Paid Search Tips

Google Search Query Reporting – How to react to the recent change

Google dropped a bombshell across the industry this month by announcing that they are making a change to the Google Search Query reporting and would be reducing the number of search terms that are available in the reporting stating “Starting September 2020, the search terms report only includes terms that a significant number of users searched for, even if a term received a click. You may now see fewer terms in your report”

Similar to the announcement for SEO and removing query data – just this came many years later (strange that Google would screw over non paid results first…)

What the change means:

In Google Ads, you bid on a keyword, this keyword can trigger different search terms to show your ads. You can view what specific search terms have appeared for your keywords – some you will want to appear for and others you don’t.

Historically search query reporting has only been available when the search term has generated at least one click, however, the change means that the reporting that is available will be limited.

At this stage, it’s too early to tell how many queries it will stop reporting on but some advertisers have been commenting that it’s reducing search query reporting up to 80%!

What can we do?

The change isn’t great and it will impact the majority of Google Ads campaigns, however, there are some things that can be done to help with this and really these should be best practise things anyway:

Negative keyword lists should be built out as much as ‘positive’ keyword lists more than ever. Here are some tips:

  • Research keyword suggestions – Do some manual keyword research to look at related searches around keywords. The below search for digital marketing consultant highlights some areas that if I was running a PPC campaign, I’d be placing keyword negatives around ‘london’, ‘salary’, ‘jobs’.

google related searches digital marketing consultant

  • Look at what search query data is available in Google Search Console – Use the data that is available to you from an organic perspective. Whilst, not all data is available to see (thanks Google!), there should be enough to show you the types of queries that show in the SERP’s
  • Use Google Trends & Google alerts to research trending keywords and topics

google trends screenshot

  • Build out standard negative keyword lists – If you’re not currently using a standard negative keyword list or even if you are, flesh this out as much as possible to include broad or phrase match negative keywords to prevent ads being shown across a range of keywords – such as jobs, careers, scam, free, how to, Youtube, amazon, Ebay, download – as examples, depending on the industry you’re in and products / services available

Got any tips for getting around the lack of keywords? Pop a comment in the box below!

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