Are You Wasting Precious SEM Dollars by Neglecting Search Query Reports?

By Kelsey Chadwick in Media Strategy on April 29th, 2015

Sifting through Search Query Reports can be a tedious task, but we think it’s worth the time and effort to help keep your SEM campaigns clean and drive conversions. Here’s how they can help you!

sem search engine marketing search query report


A huge part of managing an SEM account is doing regular maintenance to keep your campaigns clean and drive in conversions at an efficient level. One of the top ways you can spruce up an SEM account and prevent unqualified clicks is by pulling Search Query Reports (SQRs) frequently. Not only can an SQR help to block off any keywords that you do not want to match out to those bleeding into your campaigns, but they can also give you ideas for new keywords to then add into your campaigns to capture relevant search traffic (at a lower CPC) and possibly increase the number of conversions generated.


Depending on how robust the account and how often you see bleed out of “bad” keywords into your campaigns, the frequency with which you want to pull an SQR can range from semi-monthly to bi-weekly. If your account contains a lot of broad matched terms that are frequently matching out to irrelevant traffic this would call for you to pull SQRs on a regular basis so that you can do your due diligence as a Search Planner and add these “bleed-through” search terms as negatives against your campaigns.


“Bleed-though” keywords are the terms that bleed into either the wrong campaign in your SEM account when you want them to be directed to another campaign, or you do not want them matching out to any of your campaigns at all (in that case you need to aggressively negative match this keyword against all of your campaigns using either Negative Phrase or Broad Match to capture variations of that keyword that could appear in the Search Query).  


There are two main approaches to take when adding negative keywords to your paid search marketing campaigns.

  • Adding a negative on Negative Exact Match is a very careful approach to use when you only want to capture exactly what the user searches on.
  • Negative Phrase and Negative Broad match cast a wider net and capture more search terms that can contain parts of the search term and/or variations of the words within the search term.

So if a search term is 4 words long and you added it as a Negative Broad Match, you must keep in mind that you could be missing out on relevant traffic since one of the words in that search term could potentially be relevant to your campaigns. You want to be careful which search terms you add as Negative Broad Match since when you add it as Broad Match you are saying “I don’t ever want to match out to this search term no matter how it appears in the search query.” For example if you want to match out to all “home” related terms and the term “dog-house” keeps matching out to your campaigns but you don’t actually sell dog-houses, it would be appropriate to Negative Broad Match the word “dog” since any traffic generated from dog-related search terms is more than likely not going to result in a conversion on your site.


Adding negatives is all about determining how relevant the search term is to your campaigns and then making a bit of a judgment call on the Search Planner’s end to decide if it will likely attribute to a conversion. If you don’t think it will turn into a conversion, negative match the keyword. If you think it will, add it as a new term.


It is important to pull SQRs not only so your client is not paying for clicks that do not convert on the site, but also to make sure you are correctly attributing your clicks to the right campaigns in your account so you know which campaigns are driving the most traffic to your site. Making sure clicks are attributed correctly will also benefit you from a Quality Score standpoint, as you’ll likely be paying less per click.

Sifting through Search Query Reports can be a tedious task, but it’s one of the best ways to improve the overall performance of a search engine marketing account!

Contact our SEM experts today!