Decrease Costs Through Routine SQR Audits
A leaky faucet in a home can result in hundreds of dollars down the drain. Similarly, in paid search, leaving Search Query Reports (SQR) unmonitored can lead to both missed opportunities and heavy costs.
Both Bing and Google provide search query reporting giving marketers more control over when their ads serve for certain search terms. It can be time-consuming to go through these reports but it pays off in ROI.
Why It Pays Off
Consistently auditing an SQR allows for 2 main benefits:
- New Keyword Ideas: Expand campaign keyword targeting by identifying recurring search terms that convert into your marketing funnel.
- New Keyword Negations: Decrease wasted spend and improve efficiency by negating unrelated search terms.
The Dos and Don’ts for SQR Audits
It’s important to consider multiple date ranges when auditing an SQR, such as the last 2 weeks and last 6 months. This increases the likelihood of catching small drips of wasted spend, and noticing opportunities for keyword expansion.
On average, SQR audits should happen every 1-2 weeks. This frequency allows the marketer to analyze a more manageable search term volume, and better examine what keywords are mapping to which searches. This also ensures a new term isn’t driving up your costs.
Questions to Ask:
- Are there any irrelevant search terms that are racking up costs? These search terms don’t align with a company’s mission, goals, or products.
- Are there search terms that are leading to conversions and successfully drawing people to my brand? These are search terms that you may not have thought to add as keywords and are worth building out.
Upon noticing a search term that seems irrelevant, change the date filter to the last 6 months and filter for the specific search term. This allows a marketer to see the bigger picture and understand the cost and conversion volume of each search term overall.
When a search term is leading to wasted spend, make it a negative keyword on either a campaign or ad group level. The choice comes down to how relevant the search term is. Perhaps the search term has a high cost per conversion, but it shows potential for getting some success in the marketing funnel. In this case, a marketer may only want to negate the search term in certain portions of its paid search campaigns.
If the search term seems like a complete waste because it’s pulling in an audience who is not looking for or interested in a company’s products or services, then a marketer should add it as a negative to all its campaigns. Create a list, named something like “Blackout List”, where these search terms can be added as negations and apply the list to all campaigns in a company’s paid search account.
Types of Negations in Google Ads Search
For Google Ads Search, a marketer can use broad match, exact match, or phrase match negative keywords. A negative broad match prevents an ad from showing if the search contains all of the negative keyword terms, no matter the order. For example, if the negative broad match keyword is theater makeup, an ad will not show for someone searching either “theater makeup pink” or “makeup theater.”
In contrast, negative phrase match prevents an ad from showing if the search contains all the same keywords in the same order. For the above example, only “theater makeup pink” would be negated if the negative phrase match keyword was theater makeup.
While both phrase and broad match will still negate if additional words are included in the search term, exact negative match only works if the search contains the exact keyword terms in the exact same order without any extra words.
Overall, it’s important to note that negative keywords won’t match to close variants of keywords whether that’s synonyms, misspellings, singular or plural versions. A marketer needs to add all variants to the Blackout List.
Irrelevant search results mapping to a company’s paid search campaigns will quickly add up quickly. Performing an SQR audit routinely can help prevent these drips of spend. The audit allows for efficient, impactful paid search targeting through keyword expansion and cessation of wasted spend.