Search Terms vs Keywords

If you are new to using either Google AdWords or Bing Ads you may want to have a look at the data under ‘search terms’. By search terms I mean the exact term that was typed in by a person when performing a search that brought up one of your ads which was then clicked on to go to your desired website.  This can be very important to the efficiency of your campaigns. In other words, you may be wasting your money on unrelated or bad search terms without knowing it.

This may seem obvious but Google and Bing do not make it obvious to find this data.  When you set up your campaigns and ads you also input keywords which relate to each ad.  These keywords are really trigger keywords which “trigger” your ad to be displayed when someone types them into Bing, Yahoo or Google and hits enter. This is all fine and dandy but people also type in things that are close to your trigger keywords which also cause your ad to be displayed. These search keywords are what’s considered to be ‘close variants’  by Google and Bing.

A problem arises because these close variants are not always very close to your trigger keywords. Sometimes not even close at all. In the Bing Ads and Google AdWords administration console these close variants along with other search terms can be views under the label known as “search terms”. It is crucial to keep a close eye on the search terms data since there are often terms way off the mark and you pay for every click, related or not. It only makes sense that Google and Bing stretch the meaning of ‘related keywords’ or ‘variants’  because they make money per click regardless and you likely only make money per conversion. You will want to keep your search terms as targeted as possible to get the best value for your per click dollars.  (you can use a number of techniques to control this, ie. negative keywords, exact match, etc.)

In the older administration for AdWords click on the tab at the top:

Campaigns  >> Dimensions >> then click on the tab labeled ‘View Day’ and choose ‘Search Terms’

In the newer beta interface for AdWords:

Campaigns >> Keywords >> then click on Search Terms at top right

In Bing Ads:

Campaigns >> Dimensions >> choose Search Terms from the drop down labeled “Show >”

You may be very unpleasantly surprised if you see this list for the first time and realize you paid for a lot of just plain garbage and useless keywords or more accurately, search terms…

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