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About the search terms report

Use the Search terms report to see how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches within the Search Network. This article describes the search terms report and how to use it. For instructions on how to view and understand the search terms report, jump to View the search terms report.

Benefits

Use the search terms report to identify new search terms with high potential, and add them to your keyword list. Look for search terms that aren't as relevant to your business, and add them as negative keywords. This can help you to avoid spending money by showing your ad to people who aren't interested in it.

What's the difference between a search term and a keyword? A search term is the exact word or set of words that a customer enters when searching on Google.co.uk or one of our Search Network sites. A keyword is the word or set of words that AdWords advertisers create for a given ad group to target your ads to customers.

Example

David is looking to buy a Valentine’s Day bouquet online. He types “red roses” into the search box on Google.co.uk. “Red roses” is the search term. Let's say that you're the owner of an online flower business. Because you have included the word 'roses' as a keyword in your AdWords campaign, your ad may be eligible for display on David’s search results page.

How it works

The search terms report is a list of search terms that people have used, and that resulted in your ad being shown and clicked. Depending on your keyword matching options, the search terms listed might be different from your keyword list.

The 'Match type'column tells you how closely the search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to the actual keywords in your account. By seeing which match types are working well for which keywords and searches, you can refine match types for all your keywords so that only the right searches cause your ad to show. The 'Keyword' column tells you which of your keywords matched someone’s search term and triggered your ad. This column doesn't show by default. To learn how to modify columns, skip to View the search terms report.

How is search term match type determined?

To help you understand how the search term match type is determined, we'll use the following example:

Ad group Keyword
Ad group A Exact match keyword [purple flowers]
Ad group B Phrase match keyword 'purple flowers'
Ad group C Broad match keyword purple flowers

Bearing these ad groups and keywords in mind, we'll use the following table to show you how different search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to your keywords. Note that when the search term match type is a close variation, this includes misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stem words (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations or accents.

Bear in mind that a search term match type listed in your report might not be the same as the match type that you’ve selected for the keyword that triggered the ads. This is because keywords with broader match types can still match search terms in narrower ways. For example, if someone searched for purple flowers, and your broad match keyword purple flowers triggered your ad, the search terms match type would be exact match, even though in your ad group, purple flowers is broad match.

Your keyword Customer's search term Search term match type Reason for search term match type
[purple flowers] purple flowers Exact match The search term exactly matches your exact match keyword from ad group A.
[purple flowers] purple flowrs Exact match (close variant) The search term is a close variant (misspelling) of your exact match keyword from ad group A.
"purple flowers" purple flowers Exact match The search term exactly matches your phrase match keyword from ad group B.
"purple flowers" free purple flowers Phrase match The search term contains your phrase match keyword from ad group B.
"purple flowers" free purple flowrs Phrase match (close variant) The search term is a close variant (misspelling) of your phrase match keyword from ad group B.
purple flowers purple flowers Exact match The search term exactly matches your broad match keyword from ad group C.
purple flowers free purple flowers Phrase match The search term contains your broad match keyword from ad group C.
purple flowers pink flowers Broad match The search term is a variation of your broad match keyword from ad group C.

Manage your keywords based on search terms data

Use your search terms data to make changes to your keywords that can have a positive impact on your performance. Here are some ideas:

  • Add high-performing search terms to your ad group as keywords. Consider adjusting your bids as well, since search terms appearing in the search terms report are already receiving traffic. Therefore adding those terms as keywords shouldn't do much unless paired with changes to bids, ad text or both.
  • If a search term isn't relevant enough to the products or services that you offer, add it as a negative keyword. This will help keep your ad from showing to people who are looking for something that you don’t sell. For example, if you sell spectacles, and you see that the search term 'wine glasses' is triggering your ads, you might want to add 'wine' as a negative keyword.
  • Select the correct match type (e.g. broad, phrase, exact or negative) for existing keywords. The 'Match type' column can help you understand how keyword match type is affecting your ad performance.

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