I believe this one simple thing NEEDS ( I literally can’t emphasize this enough) to be done in order to run a successful paid search strategy. Unfortunately I think this one simple, yet highly imperative step is often overlooked, or not done as often as it needs to be.
As intelligent Marketers, I am sure you are all aware of the fact that Google Ads and Bing Advertising tells you what users are searching for on a daily basis, aka, the search terms. In other words, it shows you exactly what they are typing into the search bar on both of these search engines.
We obviously know the importance of keywords for our paid search campaigns, but what is equally as important, are these users’ search terms. Just as a side note, if you are just getting started on your journey into the world of paid search, Google Ads and/or Bing Advertising, you will be able to find these user search terms on the Overview page of both platforms - at least right now you can, if you are to scroll down a little on the page. There is a squared area entitled “Searches”, and there they are! Remember to change the time period to observe the correct day/ time period.
So what we do at HEEDGROUP, and what we do for our clients, is keep track of every single user search term, on a daily basis, and sometimes even twice a day. Seems simple and obvious enough right? Well if you are already doing this, amazing work and way to be staying on top of it! Or if you are doing it on a weekly, bi - weekly basis, monthly, or however often, I hope I can change your mind and convince you to start doing it on a daily basis. Why? Because it really works and will create a stronger, more targeted, and highly robust campaign, all while saving your company money….and who doesn’t want that?
Monitoring user searches on a daily basis allows you to add any word you do not see fit as a negative keyword within hours of it coming in. This is especially important if you are working with a smaller paid search budget - let me walk you through an example
Imagine you have a daily budget of $15 and are in the business of selling manufacturing software. Let’s say a user searches “free manufacturing software”, sees your ad, clicks it, and boom they made it to your website. However, once they are on your website, they see your products cost money, so naturally they leave your website.
In that instance, there goes $5.37 (a price we have seen for this term over the years), over a third of your daily budget already wasted on someone who never was going to be a good prospect for you!
Now imagine that you only check your user search terms once a week - you could potentially end up throwing away almost $40 of your $70 budget on this one term that is not going to warrant anything for you! You may be thinking, it’s not that much money and are okay with seeing it wasted. That may be the case, but let me remind you, this is just for one search term - there could be two, three, four, or five other ones that are equally unrelated to your campaign. And, when you are on a small budget, you’re paying for absolutely nothing.
In other words, this adds up, and believe me, it adds up fast! If you have a small paid search, EVERY CLICK COUNTS and negative keywords NEED to be your best friends which is why getting in the habit of checking everyday, or multiple times a day is beneficial. If you are not careful, you could end up wasting your entire daily budget on search terms that will do nothing for you and your brand.
This is why we check our user searches and those of our clients at the end of each business day, or even multiple times a day and keep track of them all on this document.
How to Use This Document:
- In the first column titled “Date” record the date you are assessing search terms.
- In the second column titled “User Searches”, list all the user search terms with a comma in between each search term that were searched for that day. It keeps the document nice and tight by just using one row instead of multiple. And trust me, after doing this for a month you will be happy you kept each day to one row.
- In the third column titled “Keywords Added”, highlight with a comma in between any of the user search terms you added as a keyword from the day.
- In the fourth column titled “Negative Keywords Added”, list all of the user search terms with a comma in between all that you added as a negative keyword from the day.
You may be thinking this is a simple document and you don’t actually need this document to do any of this because both Google Ads and Bing Advertising make it easy to add keywords or negative keywords - all you have to do is click on them and it literally gives you the option to add as new keyword or as a negative keywords. Sure, you can totally do this, but by using this simple tool, you are guaranteed to stay extremely organized, diligent, and it ensures you will stay on top of your campaign. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to lose track of your own trending data.
So not only does this simple tool save your company money, the other reason I am a huge advocate for this is that it helps you keep track of all user searches in such a proactive way, you are able to see them all in one place. Tracking what your users are searching for will allow you to simultaneously collect information about current trends that are going on in the marketplace and gain valuable and irreplaceable knowledge about what people actually want to know. If you are doing this daily, you will be staying on top of your marketplace.
Simply by knowing this, you can now easily get ahead of the competition, and give the people what they want! How? By putting their own searches right into your keyword strategy, your ad copy and your landing page copy! This is foolproof because you already know this is exactly the information they want to know because it is literally coming directly from the searchers fingers/ minds. And yes, you guessed it, you will also start seeing an uptick in your relevancy scores and your CTR’s because you know this is exactly what users are looking for. So why wouldn’t they click your ad and engage with your landing page?
With all that said, we encourage you to make a copy of this document and use it for your own brand or your clients, or both! Change the document to reflect you or your clients brand's colors, add a company logo, jazz it up to reflect your overall (or your client’s) company, but keep those columns the same :).
I can promise you will not regret it. Not only is it a great organization tool, overtime you will see the number of negative keywords you add begin to shrink, and eventually become virtually non-existent. By making these negative keywords virtually non-existent, you end up saving money all while gaining valuable and irreplaceable knowledge about users and your target audiences that you cannot get anywhere else.