Step-By-Step: Your First Keyword Report

To really dive into the nitty gritty of your account performance, you’re going to have to generate some custom reports. That’s because while the engine dashboards provide some top level data on your reports, they’re too general and non-specific most of the time to be really useful. Today I’ll take you step-by-step through your first keyword report in Google AdWords. It’s not difficult, but I know that technology can sometimes be a little intimidating—and good reporting is crucial to your success as a search engine marketer, so it’s worth taking the time now and making sure that you get this right. The good news is that once you’ve completed your first custom report, you should have no problem creating a variety of reports to suit your individual needs, as they all follow a similar format.

First, go to the reporting tab in your AdWords account and click the Create a new report link.

Step 1: Select report type. From here, you can choose from the different types of reports available. We will be going through these different types and their uses next week. For now, choose the Placement / Keyword Performancereport which is explained nearby as “View performance data for keywords or placements you’ve specifically targeted.” If you choose an ad group or campaign level report, you won’t get keyword information—and since we do want to see all of the data at the keyword level, this report will do for now.

Step 2: Settings. In the View (unit of time) setting, your options are summary, daily, day of week, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. If you have 100 keywords and choose March 1 to March 31 on a summary report, each keyword will occupy a single row of data with all of the days added together and you will have 100 rows of data. However, if you choose daily, your report will be larger. Each keyword will be listed by day, so you would have 3100 rows of data (100 keywords X 31 days). So, if you have a rather large keyword list and a big date range that you’re pulling, you may want to think about choosing the weekly or monthly option so that you don’t have a huge report on your hands.

The day of week report can be interesting if certain days of the week trend higher or lower for you. For example, if you have weekend sales you may want to see how your Saturdays and Sundays perform. Maybe you send an email blast promoting sales every Tuesday—it might be interesting to see how Wednesdays compare to Fridays as a result.

Finally, you can manually choose campaigns and ad groups the system will pull your keyword data. This can be helpful if you want to look at just a few specific groupings which will keep your report from being too large and cluttered with unimportant data. If you don’t want all of your campaigns and ad groups in the report, choose Manually select from a list and add campaigns via the Add buttons. By clicking the small arrows next to each campaign, you can open up the list of its ad groups and then you can choose individual ones from the group.

Step 3: Advanced settings (optional). The first advanced setting you have to choose from is to Add/Remove Columns. What that is referring to are the columns in your report. If you click it open, you’ll see the following table:

  • Level of detail: These columns reflect this report’s coverage and level of detail.
  • Attributes: These columns report on your current ad settings and status
  • Performance statistics: These columns feature data about how your ads are performing
  • Conversion type columns: These columns enable you to view conversion statistics broken down by type
  • Conversion columns: These columns provide statistics on ad conversions and conversion rates
  • Local business ad interaction columns: Information about user interactions with your local business ads on Google Maps.

There are tons of options here and some of the more common ones are already chosen for you. Try clicking all of the options so you can familiarize yourself with what’s available and check out a bunch of the data. Notice that when you check or uncheck a box, the columns change above the options. Those column indicators show which columns will appear in the final report (and in that order). You can find out more about these options in this Google AdWords Help Center article. Don’t bother choosing any of the conversion options if you’re not tracking conversions with Google AdWords.

The second advanced option you have is Filter your results. This will help you narrow your report down even further to reduce size and clutter. When you choose the type of filter in the drop down menu, you will be given a list of options to chose from. For example, you can choose Keyword matching and you will be able to pick broad, exact or phrase. Another example would be to select any keyword with an average cost per click (CPC) over or below a certain cost threshold by selecting Average CPC and then greater than or less than any value you decide. The cool thing here is that you can continue to Add another restriction so you can combine rules and come up with some interesting filter combinations to really focus on the data you want to analyze.

Step 4:Templates, scheduling and email. Finally, you can put the finishing touches on your report by giving it a name which, believe me, is handy once you start making dozens of reports. Make sure you are specific to what kind of report it is—especially if you’re using any funky filters or have chosen specific campaigns or ad groups. You can also save the report as a template so you can go in at anytime and pull the report now that you’ve set it up exactly how you want it. A great feature is to have the report run on a recurring basis so that it’s already built any time you need it. You can even schedule it to be emailed to you or others.

If you have everything set up the way you want, go ahead and click Generate Report. Depending on the size of the data set you’ve asked for, it actually may take some time for the report to complete. You will be redirected to the main reports tab and you report will show as “pending” until it is done; then you will see it has “completed.” Click the report name and the report will be displayed on the screen. At this point you might want to export the report and save it to your computer as either a .csv, .tsv. or .xml report. Click one of your options and your report will be downloaded. From there you can open it with Excel or other spreadsheet program and start looking through the data.

We’ll be going through some of the ways to analyze your data in future columns, but for now, you have your first keyword performance report! Congrats!

Best SEO Blogs: Top 10 Sources to Stay Up-to-Date

Posted by randfish on August 7th, 2010 at 10:12 pm Search Community

Like many overly-connected web junkies, I find myself increasingly overwhelmed by information, resources and news. Sorting the signal from the noise is essential to staying sane, but missing an important development can be costly. To balance this conflict, I’ve recently re-arranged my daily reading habits (which I’ve written about several times before) and my Firefox sidebar (a critical feature that keeps me from switching to Chrome).

I’ll start by sharing my top 10 sources in the field of search & SEO, then give you a full link list for those interested in seeing all the resources I use. I’ve whittled the list down to just ten to help maximize value while minimizing time expended (in my less busy days, I’d read 4-5 dozen blogs daily and even more than that each week).

Top 10 Search / SEO Blogs

#1 – Search Engine Land

Best SEO Blogs - SearchEngineLand

  • Why I Read It: For several years now, SELand has been the fastest, most accurate and well-written news source in the world of search. The news pieces in particular provide deep, useful, interesting coverage of their subjects, and though some of the columns on tactics/strategies are not as high quality, a few are still worth a read. Overall, SELand is the best place to keep up with the overall search/technology industry, and that’s important to anyone operating a business in the field.
  • Focus: Search industry and search engine news
  • Update Frequency: Multiple times daily

#2 – SEOmoz

SEOmoz Blog

  • Why I Read It: Obviously, it’s hard not to be biased, but removing the personal interest, the SEOmoz Blog is still my favorite source for tactical & strategic advice, as well as “how-to” content. I’m personally responsible for 1 out of every 4-6 articles, but the other 75%+ almost always give me insight into something new. The comments are also, IMO, often as good or better than the posts – the moz community attracts a lot of talented, open, sharing professionals and that keeps me reading daily.
  • Focus: SEO & web marketing tactics & strategies
  • Update Frequency: 1-2 posts per weekday

#3 – SEOBook

SEOBook Blog

  • Why I Read It: The SEOBook blog occassionally offers some highly useful advice or new tactics, but recently, most of the commentary focuses on the shifting trends in the SEO industry, along with a healthy dose of engine and establishment-critical editorials. These are often quite instructive on their own, and I think more than a few have had substantive impact on changing the direction of players big and small.
  • Focus: Inudstry trends as they relate to SEO; Editorials on abuse & manipulation
  • Update Frequency: 1-3X per week

#4 – Search Engine Roundtable

SERoundtable Blog

  • Why I Read It: Barry Schwartz has long maintained this bastion of recaps, roundups and highlights from search-related discussions and forums across the web. The topics are varied, but usually useful and interesting enough to warrant at least a daily browse or two.
  • Focus: Roundup of forum topics, industry news, SEO discussions
  • Update Frequency: 3-4X Daily

#5 – Search Engine Journal

SEJournal Blog

  • Why I Read It: The Journal strikes a nice balance between tactical/strategic articles and industry coverage, and anything SELand misses is often here quite quickly. They also do some nice roundups of tools and resources, which I find useful from an analysis & competitive research perspective.
  • Focus: Indsutry News, Tactics, Tools & Resources
  • Update Frequency: 2-3X Daily

#6 – Conversation Marketing

Conversation Marketing

  • Why I Read It: I think Ian Lurie might be the fastest rising on my list. His blog has gone from ocassionally interesting to nearly indispensable over the last 18 months, as the quality of content, focus on smart web/SEO strategies and witty humor shine through. As far as advice/strategy blogs go in the web marketing field, his is one of my favorites for consistently great quality.
  • Focus: Strategic advice, how-to articles and the occassional humorous rant
  • Update Frequency: 2-4X weekly

#7 – SEO By the Sea

 SEO by the Sea

  • Why I Read It: Bill Slawski takes a unique approach to the SEO field, covering patent applications, IR papers, algorithmic search technology and other technically interesting and often useful topics. There’s probably no better analysis source out there for this niche, and Bill’s work will often inspire posts here on SEOmoz (e.g. 17 Ways Search Engines Judge the Value of a Link).
  • Focus: IR papers, patents and search technology
  • Update Frequency: 1-3X per week

#8 – Blogstorm


  • Why I Read It: Although Blogstorm doesn’t update as frequently as some of the others, neraly every post is excellent. In the last 6 months, I’ve been seriously impressed by the uniqueness of the material covered and the insight shown by the writers (mostly Patrick Altoft with occassional other contributors). One of my favorites, for example, was their update to some of the AOL CTR data, which I didn’t see well covered elsewhere.
  • Focus: SEO insider analysis, strategies and research coverage
  • Update Frequency: 3-5X monthly

#9 – Dave Naylor

 David Naylor

  • Why I Read It: Dave’s depth of knowledge is legendary and unlike many successful business owners in the field, he’s personally kept himself deeply aware of and involved in SEO campaigns. This acute attention to the goings-on of the search rankings have made his articles priceless (even if the grammar/spelling isn’t always stellar). The staff, who write 50%+ of the content these days, are also impressively knowledgable and maintain a good level of discourse and disclosure.
  • Focus: Organic search rankings analysis and macro-industry trends
  • Update Frequency: 1-3X weekly

#10 – Marketing Pilgrim

 Marketing Pilgrim

  • Why I Read It: A good mix of writers cover the search industry news and some tactical/strategic subjects as well. The writing style is compelling and it’s great to get an alternative perspective. I’ve also noticed that MP will sometimes find a news item that other sites miss and I really appreciate the feeling of comprehensiveness that comes from following them + SELand & SERoundtable.
  • Focus: Industry news, tactical advice and a bit of reputation/social management
  • Update Frequency: 2-3X daily

Other sites that I’ll read regularly (who only barely missed my top 10) include Distilled, YOUmoz, Performable, Chris Brogan, the Webmaster Central Blog, Eric Enge, Avinash Kaushik, SEWatch, Gil Reich & the eMarketer blog. I also highly recommend skimming through SEO Alltop, as it lets me quickly review anything from the longer tail of SEO sites.