The AdWords Search Query Report: How to Get the Most Out of the Search Term Report


AdWords Campaign > Keywords > Details > Search Term Report

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been walking through the Google AdWords dimensions tab with a series of posts highlighting each of the reports you can find within the still relatively new AdWords dimensions reporting suite. The first five posts in the series covered:

In this installment, we’ll be focusing on the search terms report in the dimensions tab:

Search Terms Report

What Is the Search Terms Report? Why Is It Important?

The search terms report is similar to the search query reports you used to find in the AdWords reporting center in the old Google AdWords interface. Search queries are certainly an extremely important piece of online advertising as they show you not only the keywords that you’re bidding on, but the actual queries that are driving traffic to your site. Search query data offers you insight into which queries aren’t working (even when they may be associated, at a higher level, with keywords that are) and which queries are working better than you thought.

That said, an important thing to note about the search term report is that you can now find very similar data in the default keyword tab reports, and that from those views you can designate negatives right from the AdWords interface:

Keywords Report

If you’re looking to quickly pull a report for a glance at query data and want the option to immediately set negatives and add queries to your campaigns as keywords, you’re better off leveraging the campaign tab and looking at search terms there. The value of the search term report is really in pulling larger volumes of search query data into Excel to manipulate the data there. You can get similar data from the keywords tab, but often getting a mass of data for this purpose is much quicker and easier within the search term report:

Download Search Term Report

As you can see from the options around downloading a report, the options from within the dimensions tab allow you to create a really robust report where you can:

  • Customize the columns/data you’re shown in the report
  • Layer on additional segments like conversion, time, or network data
  • Schedule the reports to run every week or month so you can have the same report queued up for use in your normal optimization process.

What Should I Do with the Data Once I Get It Out of the Search Query Report?

Once you’ve exported this data, what you do with it on an ongoing basis could really be a series of posts in and of itself (***corny segue alert***). And as a matter of fact, it was!

Chad Summerhill wrote a great five-part series right here on the blog about search query mining:

And of course, if you’re either not comfortable mucking around in Excel with large volumes of search query data or simply don’t have the time, WordStream’s PPC product automates a lot of the work of mining search query data to bubble up important insights about your campaign. You can try the product free or check out a demo to learn more.

Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


Alan Mitchell
Oct 11, 2012

Hi Tom, I think the search query report is one of the most useful but overlooked reports available to PPC advertisers, which is a shame, since it can provide so much value as you point out. It can get a bit overwhelming though, especially when you have a lot of data, so I've been working on a few advanced techniques to help mine search queries for new keywords (and negative keywords): I find that with theme analysis (picking out individual themes from search queries), broad match generation (using broad match as a generator of new exact and phrase match keywords), and the 10% click rule (highlighting areas of search query weakness in your campaigns), mining search queries can become very effcient and manageable, even on very large accounts. Cheers,Alan 

Leave a comment