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AdWords Actual Search Queries

This article will explain you how to find out the actual search terms typed by visitors before they clicked on your AdWords ads, by using Google Analytics.

If you use broad match keywords, you must know that your ads can be displayed for other search terms that are not actually in your keyword list. These search terms are supposed to be relevant. But we know they are not in many cases, especially if you have high CTR keywords. Indeed high CTR broad match keywords are more likely to trigger your ads for a greater number of non-relevant search queries.

For example:

car rental paris may allow your ad to be displayed for transit rental france or transit hire france but the problem is that you DON'T offer van rental services, only leisure cars (and you hadn't thought to put "transit" as a negative keyword).

Here are 2 solutions to know the actual search query typed by a visitor before landing to your website:


  • Using Advanced filters with Google Analytics

Of course we will study the 2nd option and I will show you how to easily create this advanced filter.

But first here is a screenshot of how it looks like once it is implemented.


Google Analytics AdWords actual search query


You can see in brackets the actual search query, just next to the keyword as it is in your AdWords keyword list.


You need to set up 2 advanced filters within your Google Analytics profile managing your AdWords campaigns. I would even recommend to create a new duplicate profile in order to run some tests before.

We will call these filters: Actual Search Queries 1 and Actual Search Queries 2

To create Actual Search Queries 1 and Actual Search Queries 2, refer to the following steps:


1) Access the Filter Manager section from the main page of your Google Analytics account.


Google Analytics AdWords actual search query


2) Click on "Add filter" to create the first filter. 


Google Analytics AdWords actual search query


3) Choose "Custom filter", then "Advanced" and fill the different fields as shown below:  


Google Analytics AdWords actual search query


4) Don't forget to click on "Save changes".


5) Create the second filter by following the same steps. Just change the advanced filter parameters for these ones:


Google Analytics AdWords actual search query



Don't forget to apply the 2 filters to the Google Analytics profile of your choice (managing AdWords and PPC campaigns of course).


After few hours, your reports will start showing the actual search queries for your AdWords keywords. Note that it will work for any report displaying keyword details!


Thanks a lot to ROIRevolution

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