If you’re not very experienced when it comes to PPC, you may not have any idea what I’m talking about, but that’s okay. Read on and you’ll understand why having access to search queries is so important and how you can use them to improve your PPC efforts. This informational post has a little bit to offer every experience level. Even Search Engine Marketing professionals can learn about some new ways to use search query data.
Keywords are the terms and phrases that you bid on within your PPC account. When a searcher enters a keyword that you are bidding on, you are charged for that click and data is recorded in your account. The actual term that someone enters when searching is called the search query.
Now, as you probably know, there are different match-types that you can use to tell Google or Bing or Yahoo “show my ads only when someone searches for this exactly” (exact match) or “show my ads when someone searches for this phrase written like this” (phrase match) or “show my ads when someone searches for something containing these words” (modified broad match) or “show my ads when someone searches for this and other stuff” (broad match).
If every advertiser used only exact match keywords, then keywords and search queries would be the same thing. However, many advertisers take advantage of the various match types, which means that what a searcher types is not necessarily the same as the keyword that you are bidding on. For example, a phrase match keyword like “fitness band” may have search queries like best fitness band, fitbit fitness band, fitness band pink, fitness band with free shipping, cheap fitness band, fitness band for iphone or fitness band on sale.
Where to Find Search Query Data
Within your AdWords account, click into a campaign or ad group and then select the “Keywords” tab at the top. Under the “Details” dropdown select “Search Queries – All.” It should look a little something like this:
How to Use Search Queries
Search query data is really valuable, but only if you know what to do with it. This a list of the best ways to use search query data to achieve better results:
• Adding Search Queries that are Converting
Sorting search queries by conversion rate or number of conversions will give you the top queries that are driving sales. Adding these as keywords in your ad groups ensures that your ads will show for other people using these same search queries.
• Creating Negative Keywords to Avoid Ad Spend Waste
Sorting search queries by ad spend will let you see which ones you’re spending the most on and then you can select each that have generated ad spend without converting (or without converting at a profitable level) and add them to your account as negative keywords. That way if future searchers use those queries, your ads will not show up and you can avoid wasting precious ad spend dollars. You can also look through the list of search queries and make negative keywords out of any that aren’t related to what you’re selling. Using the previous fitness band example, this would cover search queries like fitness band repair, how to clean a fitness band or install iphone app for my fitness band.
• Inspiring New Ad Group Ideas
Sometimes you may see a bunch of search queries centered around something that you sell but haven’t been advertising. In this case, that provides a great basis for a new ad group (or even a new campaign) to build out.
• Determining New Marketing Messaging
Search queries sometimes give you access to the motivation behind shopping patterns. For instance, you may find a number of search queries like best fitness band for cyclists, mountain biking fitness band and fitness band that tracks bike rides. In this case, you might consider creating a specialized ad group that touts the benefits of these products for cyclists to try to increase conversions, and it also gives you a new way to pitch your products. To really get the most benefit from this insight, you could consider adding a new landing page on your site specifically for bikers with reviews from other cyclists, specific information about the bike-related data available and so forth.
• Assessing Brand Perception
Again, search queries let you quietly peer into the minds of your target audience. Using search query data you can assess how your brand is being perceived. A high number of search queries and conversions with positioning modifiers serve to indicate your place in the market. Look for modifiers like “best,” “top rated,” “premier,” “trusted,” “favorite,” “reliable,” “reputable,” “quality,” “popular,” “pro,” “newest,” “effective,” “cheap,” “value,” “budget,” “inexpensive,” “amateur” to indicate what your brand perception is amongst searchers.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned