All other reports and metrics in Google Ads aside, the search terms report is more important than any other.
What is the Search Terms (Query) Report in Google Ads?
The search terms report shows you the exact searches that you spent money on during a given period of time. You may be thinking, “I thought I spend money on keywords?” Nope. You bid on your keywords, but what you actually pay for are the search terms.
For example, I made a search and took a screenshot of it below. If I were to have clicked on any of the 3 links in the screenshot (all links are ads) and it was your ad, then the phrase in the search bar, “personal injury lawyer tampa,” would appear as a search term in your search terms report.
How To Grade the Quality of Your Search Terms Report
Before I tell you how to get to your search terms report, you need to know how to grade the quality of it. When you open it up, you want to see very relevant searches for exactly what you do. We’ll stay with the personal injury lawyer theme like in the first screenshot. If you are a personal injury attorney and your campaign is getting searches such as, “personal injury lawyer tampa”, “personal injury attorney,” and “best personal injury lawyer in tampa fl,” all other factors aside, your campaign is at least targeting searches that will send valuable traffic. If you are seeing a lot searches like, “personal injury lawyer jobs,” “best schools for personal injury lawyers,” or “personal injury lawyer commercials youtube,” these searches literally represent wasted budget and opportunity.
There are over 3.5 BILLION searches on Google everyday. You cannot expect your search terms report to be perfect with 100% good quality searches all the time. That’s just not possible with the number of unique and unpredictable searches being made each day. Someone will search something completely irrelevant that gets past your negative keywords and it will result in a wasted click. It’s going to happen. It’s the nature of the beast that is Google Ads. If this makes you uneasy knowing that you will inevitably get some bad clicks, think about a billboard, print, radio, or TV ad you bought in the past. You paid no matter who saw your ad while they drove by it or listened to it after their favorite song ended on the radio. The majority of the people who see those ads don’t care, nor do they necessarily want to see it because they aren’t searching for a lawyer. The opposite is true of Google Ads. When done correctly, the majority of the people who interact with your Google Ads want to click them and need your services.
Search Terms Report Grading Scale
A – If you get 85+% good searches, your manager is getting you the right traffic, and is doing a good job in the ad platform.
B – If you’re seeing 75-84% (B) good quality searches, your manager could be checking the account a little more often to make routine optimizations and improvements.
C – If you’re seeing 74% (C) and below, your manager or agency could be doing much more to improve your account. You should probably schedule a call with them and ask a few questions if your account falls into this category.
As a Google Ads account matures, these numbers, as well as the number of leads you receive, should become much more consistent month-to-month.
How To Download Your Search Terms Report in Google Ads
Now that you know how to understand your search terms report, it’s time to log in to your Google Ads account and download it. I’ve provided step-by-step instructions in written and video formats below using an empty testing account that I use for demonstrational purposes only. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navigate to the “Keywords” tab on the left side of the screen. The “Keywords” tab is circled in red in the screenshot below.
Once in the “Keywords” tab, click “Search Terms” circled in red in the screenshot below.
Select “Search Terms” in the drop-down menu that appears.
You are now in your search terms tab and will see all searches from Google Users that resulted in a click on your ad. Select the date range that you would like to view your search terms. Then, click the download icon.
In the drop-down menu that appears select the report format that you would like to download.
Okay, that’s it. Now it’s time for you to open the report in a spreadsheet and grade your Google Ads account manager!