Google Ads has Decreased Their Search Term Visibility


Published: October 23, 2020

In September of this year, Google made an announcement that they would be updating the search terms report to only include terms that were searched by a significant number of users. As a result of this update, you are only able to see a small number of terms in your report going forward. The search terms report allows you to see the actual queries that users are entering into the search bar. This will have a great effect on your marketing strategy if you were tracking a large number of terms on Google Analytics. Google explained that they want to “maintain our standards of privacy and strengthen our protections around user data.” 

For example, if you wanted to make a bid on a broad search term like “digital marketing,” some related terms would be:

  • Digital Content Marketing
  • What is Digital Marketing
  • How to do Digital Marketing   

By viewing the search terms, users can better understand their audience and optimize their ads account. If any of the given terms are not relevant to your search and its intent, you can add them as negative keywords so they no longer appear in your query. The additional keywords that have shown in the past add context clues so you can decide which long-tail keywords apply to your query based on intent. 

Since Google made this change, presumably fewer search terms have been appearing in queries. Advertisers that use Google Ads are concerned with the decrease in visibility since search terms are so important to their performance. 

A few questions that have come up: 

  1. What does Google consider a significant number of users? 
  2. How will this change single ad click campaigns? 
  3. What is being done about more general search terms like “free” when added into the long-tail keyword? 

Hopefully, Google will soon reveal why this was done and have some answers for those of us who depend on Google Ads for the majority of our campaigns.


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