There’s gold in them-thar search query hills

Pick and Gold: Mining the Search Query Report

Get proven converting keywords from the Search Query Report.

The search query report is the search engine’s gift to search marketers. Keywords are what you bid on as an advertiser, but search queries are what searchers type into the search engine. The Search Query Report provides you with actual queries and data associated with those queries.

So why do you need this report?

There are a few reasons. For one, you may bid on a keyword and the search engine may provide an ad impression for a completely different search query (gasp!). If you bid on broad-match terms in Google, the search engine will serve up impressions for related keywords that may or may not help your search marketing. That’s just one of the reasons you should get familiar with one of my favorite reports: the Search Query Report.

Getting Google’s Search Query Report

You can find the Search Query report in the Report Center in Adwords:

1)  Reporting tab > Click “Reports”.

2)  Click “Create a New Report”.

3)  Select “Search Query Performance”

4)  Select “Campaign” and then “Last thirty days” or whatever timeframe.

5)  Click “Add or Remove Columns” to add conversion data.

6) Click “Create Report”.

Search Query Report

Download the Search Query Report from the Adwords Report Center.

The report will take some time to complete depending on your date range. When the report is finished, it will have a green Completed on the same row of the Report Center. You can then click on the “Search Query Report” link to view it or download it. As of now, you can only get the Yahoo Search Query report from Yahoo directly (not the interface). To get the MSN/Bing Search Query report, here are some directions from PPC Hero.

Mining for Converting Keywords

How can this report help?

For one, you can add highly-targeted keywords to your paid search account. When you use broad-match or phrase-match keywords, Google will provide you with other queries that received impressions and clicks in the report. Some of those queries will convert, i.e. do what you want them to do on your website. If that happens, you can add those queries as new keywords to your PPC account.

This is the best way to expand your account with new keywords. The good news is that these keywords tend to help your Yahoo, Bing, and other paid search accounts as well.

Mining for Negative Keywords

However, just as those broad-match keywords bring in converting traffic, they also bring in non-relevant traffic.

For instance, if you’re a stair-builder and you bid on the term “stairs” broad-match in Google, you will get some non-relevant impressions on your ads. According to Google’s Keyword Tool, they deem search queries like “sharon stair” or “take the stairs” as relevant to the keyword “stairs”. But those queries don’t relate to your business. That’s why it’s so important to review your Search Query Report. Add those non-relevant queries as negative exact-match or negative phrase-match keywords.

The foundation of your search marketing efforts is the keyword. The Search Query Report can help you see exactly what that keyword is doing for your account. Make an effort to review the Search Query Report to improve the number of conversions (by adding converting search queries as keywords) and by reducing non-relevant traffic (by adding non-relevant search queries as negative keywords).

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