Search Term Reporting 101: Eliminate Your Keyword Blind Spots in Google AdWords and Bing Ads

Originally published at

Did you know you probably have your vehicle side mirrors set incorrectly? No, seriously. I found this out a few years ago and it is not an exaggeration to say it has revolutionized the way I drive.

The Problem

People usually set their side mirrors to duplicate their rearview mirror… that is, to see what’s behind them. What’s the problem with doing it this way? Well, the problem is this does nothing to combat that age old driving annoyance: blind spots. If you set your side mirrors to see behind you, you end up seeing half of your vehicle (how useful is that, really?! I mean, do you need to be reminded that you are still in the same car?), and a small portion of cars that are behind you (so, redundancy since you have a rear-view mirror for this).

The Solution

So, what is the answer to this car conundrum? Simple: set your side mirrors correctly. You actually should set your side mirrors so you can see your blind spots rather than your own vehicle and what is behind you! It takes a little getting used to — it really feels awkward at first — but frankly, it will revolutionize the way you drive.

No more whipping your head around to catch a quick look (and neck ache) on your blind spots, now you can see them with your mirrors. Try this: set your mirrors according to the article and then go for a drive on the highway and watch cars pass you on both sides in your mirrors. You will be able to see them entering your rearview mirror, leaving your rearview mirror as they go around you and enter your side mirror. Then, just as they begin to leave the side mirror, you will see them in your driver’s window. No more losing cars in your blind spots and no more neckaches!

Eliminate Your PPC Blind Spots

What does this have to do with PPC? Everything!

Your “rearview mirror” is your analytics dashboard. You see data and information about the keywords you are bidding on there, which is helpful, but it’s only half the picture.

Your side view mirror is your Bing Ads dashboard, but if you only use it to see the same information as you see in your Analytics account, you are just duplicating what you already know and missing out on your blind spots!

How do you set things correctly to get a bigger picture? Utilize the Search Terms Report (STR) in Bing Ads as your side view mirror.

Use The New Search Terms Report in the UI

What is the Search Terms Report? The Search Terms Report allows you to see the terms people actually typed in to view or click on your ads. You may be amazed at some of the blind spots you uncover. I have run audits on accounts dumping loads of cash down the drain because of account blind spot keywords. If those accounts had properly used the Search Terms Report, they could have identified and excluded those terms costing them money and increased their PPC margins.

How do you access the Search Terms Report? The great news is that in both Google AdWords and Bing Ads, this report is nestled handily in your keywords view! Now, when you have your account open, navigate to the “keywords” tab, select 1 or more keywords you want to see data for, and then select the “Search Terms” option (see screenshot).

You will then see a list of search terms you can choose to exclude if unrelated/poor quality (“Add as negative keywords”) or include in your account if high quality/high converting terms for which to specifically target and set individual bids (“Add as keywords”).

You can see how helpful it is to have this report added directly into the interface; it’s a great way to identify negative and positive blind spots. Negative in the sense of avoiding costly, non-quality traffic and positive in the sense of identifying previously unknown, but high-quality terms your audience uses to purchase your products/services.

So, set your mirrors correctly on your car to avoid dangerous blind spots, and better utilize your Search Terms Report in your Bing Ads account to avoid keyword blind spots thus increasing your ability to optimize the data you receive for the good of your account.

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