In Google Adwords the Search Query Report is one of the most valuable tools to gain insight in the quality of your keywords. Especially when you use more broader keywords Google has more freedom to trigger ads based on actual search terms that differ from your keywords. So it is very important to regularly check these actual search terms and get inspiration for negatives and/or new keywords to be added as phrase match or Broad match modifier (use the + ).
This report used to be in the reporting section (as of 2007) and thankfully was made an integral element of the main interface some time later.
Important to realize: the search terms provided are the search terms used after which actual clicks occurred. So lets say you had 1000 impressions and 100 clicks, you only see the search terms used for the 100 clicks. Of course that is very useful information to generate negatives and new keywords but it would also have been very useful to see what search terms generated those other 900 views. These are maybe even more important. The 100 people actually clicked on your ads so there must have been some relevance there, but the other 900 did not click. Why were my ads served? Unfortunately this information is not provided.
I asked Google about it:
Google must have this information, like the way view-through-conversions are measured. No clicks there, but views are stored. But we will have to think of other way to get this information.
So I thought of another tool right in the same section: the auction insights. This tool gives information for the actual auctions that did occur for a particular keyword.
If you find auction competitors in this report that are no competitors for your actual products at all, you know there’s something to be optimized. Either in your campaigns, theirs or both. Here you can see that for the keyword +adwords +reporting we compete with Google, Raven tools , Wordstream etc. (and we are doing ok 🙂 ) . What’s interesting for my keywords are the non-competitors. Wordstream is not a competitor, They offer PPC management software and services. Jumpfly is an PPC agency. They do not offer reporting software, but we are competing in the auction. I can add negative like “management”, “Agency” . Another auction competitor is spyfu. They don’t offer reporting, but keyword tools, so I can add “keywords” as negative.
Let’s say your customer offers “website security scans” and you run this report and you see auctions in which you are competing with seo companies that bid on “website seo scan ” etc. you know you forgot the negatives “seo , google, ranking” etc.
Adding these extra negatives will lower the competition in the auctions and have a positive impact on your CTR, QS and ad rank.
Hope this post helps you finding more relavant negatives using the auction insights report.