Google Ads and The Missing Search Terms Conundrum

A few years ago, the SEO industry was distraught when Google removed the ability to see organic search terms as there was no money in it, I mean, for privacy concerns. However, as organic search is ‘free', there is no ground for arguing that Google should make this data available.

This year ‘though is completely different. Just the briefest of mentions but Google has just announced that “Starting September 2020, the search terms report only includes terms that a significant number of users searched for, even if a term received a click. You may now see fewer terms in your report.” Source –

No doubt, Google would argue they are only thinking of the advertisers and helping them by simplifying their Google Ads management. I suspect ‘though, like most of these changes, the real reason is more to do with profits and shareholder returns.

Search term reviews are the bread and butter of diligent Google Ads managers. Not just for spotting new opportunities but also to identify negative keywords and phrases that should be added to an account to prevent wasted spend. Even a single click can cost an advertiser lot and, for small businesses, in particular, these click costs make a real difference. Without the ability to quickly spot them, no negatives added and the bid auction continues unabated with advertisers still unknowingly contributing to an increase in click cost as they bid in a keyword auction. Who is the winner in this scenario?

For me, it's quite simple. If a click costs money, then the advertiser should be able to quickly identify the cause of that cost and be able to stop it happening again.

Hopefully, there will be enough kick-back from the industry over this that Google, despite corporate greed, will do the right thing by its advertisers.

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