HomeBlogAdvanced Search Query Mining Part 5: Acting on Your Insights

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 5: Acting on Your Insights

Author: Chad Summerhill
Last Updated: November 18, 2021 | Paid Search Marketing

This is the last post in my series on Advanced Search Query Mining. Here is a list of the previous posts in this series just in case you missed one.

In my previous post on search query mining I showed you my technique for creating an ad-group-level negative candidates list and a keyword expansion list from your search queries. In this post I’m going to show you a method for acting on those insights. I will also include a link in the conclusion of this post to a free Excel download that has all of the formulas I’ve used in this series.

Acting on your Negative Candidates

There are several factors that could be impacting the performance of your search queries, but for the purposes of this tutorial I am going to assume that you are following best practices and have tightly themed ad groups containing a small number of keywords.

One reason that you have poor performing search queries in your ad group is because of the way Google matches search queries to your broad match keywords. Google’s idea of broad is just about as broad as you can imagine, and sometimes even broader.

In order for a search query to be on the negative candidates list, your search query has already demonstrated that it doesn’t belong in the ad-group that it’s matching to—it has very poor CTR and CVR.

These search queries are not working with your existing ads. There is really no good reason not to just add the entire list as ad-group-level negative exact match keywords, preventing them from matching to your broad match keywords in the future.

This is accomplished by copying your entire negative candidates list from Excel and pasting it into AdWords Editor.




  1. Copy your list of negative candidates
  2. Paste them into a temporary worksheet
  3. Delete all columns except: Campaign, Ad Group, Search Query (change this to Keyword), Match Types (change this to Keyword Type) (you may have to reorder your columns as shown above)
  4. Change the Search Query column to Keyword
  5. Change the Match Type column to Keyword Type
  6. Change all of your match types to exact (we will be creating exact match negative keywords)
  7. Reorder your columns as: Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, and Keyword Type using Cut & Paste.
  8. Now copy your modified list of negative candidates
  9. In Google AdWords Editor, click on Negatives > Make Multiple Changes > Add Multiple Negative Keywords as shown below.
  10. Paste your copied list of negative keywords into the wizard
  11. Click Finish.

Now your negative exact match keywords are in AdWords Editor waiting to be uploaded into your account. Take a look at what you’ve added and make sure everything looks good before you post your changes.

Acting on Your Keyword Expansion List

Adding new keywords to your account is more difficult. You must make sure they find a good home (ad group).

At a high level, you copy your keyword expansion list, paste it into AdWords Editor, and distribute it into appropriate ad groups.




  1. In AdWords Editor create a temporary ad group in the campaign that you will be adding keywords to—name it something like z_temp so it will sort to the bottom or your ad groups in the tree-view, making it easier to find when you are going back and forth. And change its status to ‘paused.’
  2. Copy your keyword expansion search terms (only the one column) for the campaign that you are expanding and paste them into a different spreadsheet.
  3. Add a match type column and make your entire search terms list ‘exact match.’
  4. Copy your newly made list of terms and match types (not the column headers).
  5. In AdWords Editor select the campaign you are working on then click on Keywords > Make Multiple Changes > Add/Update Multiple Keywords to open the keyword wizard.
  6. In the keyword wizard, select the ‘z_temp’ ad group from the campaign structure tree, paste your new keywords into the wizard as shown below and click on the ‘Next’ button.
  7. If everything looks good click Finish.

Now you have all of your new keywords in a temporary ad group waiting to be distributed to an appropriate ad group.

The challenge is finding the appropriate groupings/ themes of your new keywords. There are a couple of ways I approach this problem.

  • Manually scan your keywords looking for themes that match to existing ad groups and keywords.
  • Use the AdWords Editor Keyword Grouping tool.

A good place to start is by using your existing ad groups and keywords as the criteria for filtering your keyword expansion list. If you have a well built out campaign then you probably have most of the groupings already.

For example: let’s pretend that you sell dog food and dog food accessories.  It’s safe to assume that you already have a dog food bowl ad group, so you should filter your keyword expansion list by the word ‘bowl’ in AdWords Editor.

The resulting list will be all of your new keywords that contain the word ‘bowl.’ From here you can just drag-and-drop your keywords into the ‘bowl’ ad group or ad groups.

Similarly, you can use the output of one of the grouping tools above as your filtering criteria and then distribute your keywords.

Hopefully this gives you a good overview of the workflow. The most labor-intensive part of this whole process will be getting your new keywords into the right ad groups, but free tools like the AdWords Editor can help speed things up.

This concludes my series on Advanced Search Query Mining and I hope that you have found it useful.

This is a guest post by Chad Summerhill, author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of PPC tutorials, and in-house AdWords specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc.

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