Are your queries matching to the correct ad group? The other use for AdWords search term reports.

Are you sure search queries matching to the most relevant ad groups and keywords in your account?

This is one of the most overlooked optimisation opportunities I see.

You’re already using search term reports to build negative keyword lists and stop your ads from displaying on irrelevant search terms. But have you ever looked past the “Search term” column and used a search terms report to make sure the queries that you do¬†want are matching to the most relevant ad group and keyword combination?

AdWords matching system is far from perfect. Since AdWords uses Ad Rank to decide which keyword to match to a search query, you can’t assume that queries are always matching to the place you want them to.

Say we have the following keywords, in different ad groups, with different ads and landing pages:



When someone searches for a query like “train from London to Paris“, the query can potentially match to four different ad groups, and two of those ad groups are advertising trains in the wrong direction. This is known as cross-matching. I’ve explained how to fox this using negative keywords in another post.

Never assume that AdWords will pick the right ad to display for any search term, unless you tell it exactly where to match to.

The problem is that most people never look past the “Search term” column in search term reports, and never notice that queries are matching to the wrong ad groups.

Next time you run a search term report, look through your highest-impression search terms, and make sure they are matching to the most relevant ad groups. You could be saving your potential customers a lot of confusion.

conditional formatting - highlight duplicate values

Another approach I’ve used is to download a search term report and use Excel’s highlight duplicates conditional formatting on the search term collumn. If the same queries are matching to multiple, different ad groups in your account, then you have some cross-matching issues that need sorting out.

What is your most effective, often over-looked optimisation technique? Let me know in the comments.

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