The Google Analytics Filter You Absolutely Must Use

I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without discussing my favorite PPC management trick: the detailed keyword filter for Google Analytics. You can find simple instructions to set it up at this Semvironment blog post. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and is well worth the small investment of labor.

Once you set up the filter in your Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to view the exact search queries that users are reaching your site on. This is especially helpful if you’re running a lot of broad match keywords in your campaigns. Normally, you’d never be able to tell exactly what users are typing in before Google shows one of your ads. After getting a few weeks of data from this filter, you’ll realize that Google takes a very liberal interpretation of what is relevant to a broad match keyword. After all, more impressions equals more potential clicks and revenue for Big G, so what incentive do they have to make sure your broad match keywords are super relevant?

Now, I should mention that you could get this data out of a Search Query report in AdWords. The Analytics filter method has two advantages, though. One, you never have to worry about that heartbreaking “134345465 unique queries” entry in your report data. Two, you’re able to get detailed keyword data not only for Google, but for your other PPC campaigns that you have hooked into your Google Analytics profile (more on this later).

By using the keyword filter, you’re not only able to weed out ineffective keywords by adding negatives and changing match types, but you’re also able to get a feel for what users are actually searching for on your site. I’ve had a lot of success finding popular terms in the keyword filter, creating an AdWords ad group around them, and raking in the conversions. Not bad for a free web analytics package, huh?

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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One Response to The Google Analytics Filter You Absolutely Must Use

  1. What we really need to figure out is a way around the new personalization that Google’s showing signs of since integrating their high-dollar DoubleClick technology… I have a screen cap where I searched for “termite exterminators in Houston” and the #2 and $4 paid ad positions are for lawyers offices – I had spent part of the morning researching local search results for lawyers and Google “remembered” that and assumed that even though I clearly have “termite exterminators in Houston” typed into the query field and nothing about lawyers anywhere, I deserved to see some paid ads for lawyers too.