Search Term Audit

What is a Search Term Audit?

A search term audit, or a keyword audit, is a periodic health check to see which search queries triggered your ads to be shown.

Purpose of Search Term Audits

Google AdWords will show ads based on your active keyword targets regardless of their performance. Performing regular audits of your target keywords and their search terms will help you discover irrelevant, non-performing, and expensive search queries that do nothing except consume your daily budget.

You can also cross check the performance of different match types to see which ones perform better to further optimize your paid marketing efforts.

How to do a Search Term Audit

There are two ways to do a search term audit. Which one you choose depends on how granular you want to be while managing your AdWords account. The important thing is that you do one of them regularly.

Ad Group Level

This type of audit is great if you’re pressed for time or if you are targeting a large number of keywords. You’ll be able to see all of your search term data at one time.

  1. Log into your Google AdWords account.
  2. Click on the desired Campaign.
  3. Click on the desired Ad Group (if more than one).
  4. Navigate to the Search Terms tab above the graph.
  5. Go through the search terms and add irrelevant / non-performing keywords as negative keywords.

Pro tip: Keep the negative keywords as broad as possible. For example, if you run a coffee shop, but you don’t serve tea and your ads are being shown for tea related queries, add “tea” as a negative keyword. This prevents all searches with the word “tea” from triggering your ads and wasting your budget.

Individual Keyword Level

This type of audit is great if you want to go through your search terms with a fine toothed comb or if you’re targeting a small number of keywords. You’ll be able to dig into all of the queries that triggered ads for that particular search term.

  1. Log into your Google AdWords account.
  2. Click on the desired Campaign.
  3. Choose on the desired Ad Group (if more than one).
  4. Select the Keyword you would like to audit by clicking on the box at the start of the row.
  5. Then click on Search Terms in the blue bar at the top of the table.
  6. Audit these search terms and add irrelevant / non-performing keywords as negative keywords.

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