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What keywords got me those search terms?

Or, in other words, how broad is broad match?

Any serious AdWords manager is watching the search terms attracted by her keywords religiously.

And any serious AdWords manager has already been frustrated by the fact that he cannot see, in one table, side by side, the search term, the match type of the keyword, and the keyword which was triggered by it.

Ok, it’s a known fact that you can go to your keywords tab, and select one keyword, and click on “See search terms”, so you can see only the search terms attracted by that particular keyword.

But would you do it a hundred times a day? Click, “See search terms”, click, “See search terms”, click, oh, no, I’ve already clicked that before, back to square one …

Disclaimer: the solution I’m going to provide only works for search terms which attracted at least one click.

It does not work for those who only generated impressions. But after all, no click means no (direct) cost, right? Also, this solution does not involve AdWords alone, you need to have a linked Analytics account, with auto-tagging enabled. But there is no reason you shouldn’t have one, right? AdWords does give you impressions, and clicks, and conversions, but other than that, no post-click, on-site behaviour is available to you if you only use AdWords. You have no idea which keywords and search terms brought you engaged visitors, and which brought you nothing but bounces. And there’s quite a gap between converting and non-converting keywords and search terms.

So here’s what you have to do:

  • Google “Data Feed Query Explorer”, and find Google Analytics’ excellent interface for its Data Export API. Use Chrome (you’ll see why later on).
  • If you’re not logged in, log in with your Google Account which has access to the Analytics account you’d like to look at.
  • Select the account, and choose the following dimensions: ga:keyword,ga:adMatchType,ga:adMatchedQuery
  • Choose ga:visits as metric
  • As you don’t want data from all mediums in your result, create a custom segment in Google Analytics, which only includes AdWords visitors (source has to be Google, and medium has to be cpc). Use is as a segment.
  • you don’t want keywords with “exact” as match type, as they obviously get search terms which are identical to them. So use the filter ga:adMatchType!=Exact match.
  • sort by ga:keyword, and choose your start and end date
  • get up to 9999 results

You’ll see a nicely formatted table. Right click the “ga:keyword” table cell, and choose “Inspect Element”.

Inspect element HTML in Chrome

Two-three lines above the selected element in the source code (td class=”google-visualization-table-th), you’ll see table class=”google-visualization-table-table”. That is the table containing all your data. Right click it and choose “Copy as HTML”.

Open an Excel blank file, and paste all that HTML into it. You’ll get a nice table holding all the information you need.

Copy HTML content

That’s it. You now have keywords, match types, and search terms next to each other, and you can see what search terms were attracted by your keywords. And you can now see, how broad broad match really is.

Alternate ways of getting the same data in a table are to create your own scripts which access the Google Analytics Data Export API, or a great free Excel plugin, called Excellent Analytics. Maybe I should have started with this, but unfortunately, while it worked nicely with an older version of Excel, I could not get it to work with the 2010 version, so I preferred to show you something which works with nothing but a browser and Excel.

About Calin Sandici

Father of two and husband of one, at the crossroads of Google AdWords, Analytics and E-Commerce.