Add, edit, or delete your keywords

You can help increase your sales and lower your costs by adding, changing, or deleting keywords, their match type, their bid, and more. For example, let's say your campaign has been running for a while and your performance data shows that some of your keywords are performing better than others. You could increase your bids for keywords that are performing well and decrease your bids for keywords that aren't converting to sales. You could also make changes to your lowest-performing keywords to better reach your advertising goals, because high-quality, relevant keywords can help you show your ads to the customers you want, when you want.

add keywords Note: Video instructions are up-to-date, but don't show the latest AdWords design.

Add keywords

The steps for adding keywords to your ad group vary depending on whether your campaign type is "Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," "Search & Display Networks," or the "Display Network only." If you’re not sure what your campaign type is, you can find it by clicking the Campaigns tab, selecting the campaign you’d like to check, and looking at “Type” under your campaign name.

Add keywords to campaigns ("Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," or "Search & Display Networks")
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Keywords tab. Keywords tab
  3. Click the + Keywords button at the top of your keywords table.
  4. Select which ad group you'd like to add your keyword to. Add keywords
  5. Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words).

    Tip

    You might see a list of keyword ideas to the right of the keyword box. Click the add link next to any keyword you'd like to add to your ad group. You can get an instant estimate of how many people use each keyword you add by clicking the Estimate search traffic button below the text box.

  6. Click Save.
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Note

The first time you create an ad group, you'll be asked to set an ad group default bid. Unless you add a keyword specific bid from the keywords table, your ad group default bid will be used for your keywords.

Add keywords to campaigns targeting the Display Network only
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Display Network tab.
  3. Click + Targeting above the graph.
  4. Select which ad group you'd like to add your keyword to.
  5. Click the "Add targeting" dropdown menu and select "Display keywords." Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words) and click Add keywords. Or, type your keyword in the box and click Find related keywords to get keyword ideas. Then, click the double arrows next to each keyword you'd like to add.
  6. Click Close to save your changes.

Tip

Try using the Keyword Planner to get new keyword ideas and traffic estimates.

Edit, pause, or enable keywords

You can instantly edit a single keyword, or edit keywords in bulk. It's important to remember that when you edit the keyword itself or the keyword match type, you're deleting the original keyword and creating a new one. Also, the statistics your keyword has accumulated will be reset to zero.

How to edit a single keyword

Note

Make sure the automatic bidding feature is turned off so you'll be able to edit your bids. If you don't set a keyword-specific bid, the ad group default bid will apply and it will be listed in gray in the "Max. CPC" column of your keywords table.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the ad group or campaign you want to edit.
  3. And then, depending on the type of campaign you have, follow these steps:
    • If your campaign type is "Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," or "Search & Display Networks," click the Keywords tab.
    • If your campaign targets the Display Network only, click the Display Network tab, and then the Display Keywords tab.
  4. Click the keyword to instantly edit the word itself or its match type. To pause or enable the keyword, click the status icon drop-down that's next to the keyword and select Enabled or Paused. To edit the keyword's bid, click the bid amount in the "Max. CPC" column. Edit keyword
  5. Click Save.
How to edit multiple keywords

You can make bulk changes to your keywords by using tools such as AdWords Editor or AdWords API, or by using the Edit menu.

Using AdWords Editor, AdWords API, or the Edit menu

AdWords Editor

You can use AdWords Editor, a free downloadable application for managing your account, to make bulk changes to your keywords. The process is simple: download your account, make your changes, and then upload your revised campaigns when the changes are finalized.

AdWords API

You can use AdWords API (Application Programming Interface), a tool that lets developers build applications that directly interact with the AdWords server. If your account is larger or complex, these applications can help you manage your account more efficiently.

Edit multiple keywords with the Edit menu

If you want to save time, you can make the following changes to multiple keywords at once:

  • Change the keyword text, destination URL, or bid
  • Change the keyword match type (Search Network only)
  • Pause or enable your keywords
  • Copy keywords to another ad group
  • Set your keyword bids so your ads show up on the first page or top of first page (Search Network only)

To change multiple keywords:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
    • "Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," or "Search and Display Networks": Go to the Keywords tab.
    • "Display Network only": Go to the Display Network tab, then to the Display Keywords tab.
  3. Select the checkboxes next to the keywords that you'd like to edit. The selected keywords will be highlighted.
  4. Click the Edit drop-down menu, then choose what type of change you’d like to make. See keywords bulk edit menu
How to copy keywords

Let's say you've spent some time building a great keyword list for one of your ad groups and would like to copy those keywords to another ad group. You can easily copy your keywords from one ad group to another to give yourself a head start.

Note

Your keyword's Quality Score may change after you copy it to another ad group. For example, your keyword's Quality Score may increase if you copy it to an ad group with more relevant ads. Also, your keywords statistics will be reset to zero.

To copy keywords from an ad group in a Search Network campaign:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Go to the Keywords tab.
  4. Check the boxes next to the keywords you would like to copy. Then, from the Edit drop-down menu, choose Copy (or Control-C for PCs, Command-C for Macs).
  5. Go to the Ad groups tab.
  6. Click on the ad group where you want to put the copied keywords.
  7. From the Edit drop-down menu, choose Paste (or Control-C for PCs, Command-C for Macs).
  8. Optional: In the dialog box that appears, check the box next to “Pause new keywords after copying” to create new keywords that are paused. Otherwise, any copies of keywords that were active when copied will be active when pasted.
  9. Click Paste

When you copy keywords, they will use the budget of the campaign you paste them into. You also have the option to copy their bids and destination URLs. Otherwise, you’ll need to set bids and destination URLs for these keywords after you’ve pasted them.

To copy keywords from an ad group in a Display Network campaign:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Go to the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Display keywords sub-tab.
  5. Check the boxes next to the keywords you would like to copy. Then, from the Edit drop-down menu, choose Copy to....
  6. From the Choose... menu, select the campaign and ad group or ad groups where you want to paste your keywords.
  7. Click Copy to ad group.
  8. In the confirmation window, click Close.

Delete your keywords

You can delete a single keyword or multiple keywords in an ad group.

How to delete keywords
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the ad group or campaign that you want to edit.
  3. And then, depending on the type of campaign you have, follow these steps:
    • "Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," or "Search and Display Networks": Go to the Keywords tab.
    • "Display Network only": Go to the Display Network tab, then to the Display Keywords tab.
  4. Check the boxes next to the keywords you would like to copy. Then, from the Edit drop-down menu, choose Delete.
  5. Click OK.

Tip

Try running a "search terms report" to see searches that triggered your ad and led to a click. You can use the information to help you find new keywords. Or, you can identify poorly performing ones that you might want to remove from your account. To see how specific keywords are performing, select those keywords from the Keywords tab, click the Details drop-down menu, and choose Selected.

How symbols and search operators work with keywords

Using symbols with your keywords

You can use two symbols, ampersands (&) and accent marks (á), in your keywords. We'll consider keywords with these symbols as two different keywords, like sidewalk cafe and sidewalk café.

Here are some of the symbols that our system doesn't recognize:

  • Ignored symbols: You can add periods (.) or dashes (-) to your keywords, but we'll ignore this punctuation. That means we'll consider the keywords Fifth Ave. and Fifth Ave, for example, identical keywords.
  • Invalid symbols: You'll see an error message if you add keywords that contain certain symbols. Some of the symbols that can't be used in your keywords are: , ! @ % ^ * () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ |
  • Search operators: We'll remove the "site:" operator from your keywords. That means if you add the keyword [site:www.example.com dark chocolate], we'll consider it the same as [dark chocolate]. If you're someone who uses advanced search operators on Google, you might want to know how those operators work with your keywords. If you add a particular search operator to your keywords, AdWords will ignore it. For example, if you add the search operator "OR" to the keyword dark chocolate, like OR dark chocolate, AdWords will ignore the "OR" command and target your ads with the keyword dark chocolate.