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What Google’s Removal of Keyword Data Means for Businesses


What Google’s Removal of Keyword Data Means for Businesses

What Google’s Removal of Keyword Data Means for Your Businesses

This month, Google made a significant change to its keyword data, and it’s safe to say that the update has caused a stir! On September 1, 2020, Google notified advertisers that there would be a removal of keyword data in Ads accounts.

In Google Ads, advertisers use the search terms report to understand which terms trigger their ads to be shown. The report also details how closely terms align with an advert’s targeted keywords, which is helpful for advertisers to keep track of their ad spend. However, Google’s update has made some of this data inaccessible.

The update reads: “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.”

The removal of keyword data has angered advertisers and left many companies – particularly smaller businesses – worried about their ad spend.


What Does this Mean for Businesses?

So, what does removal of keyword data mean for businesses? Essentially, the update means that advertisers won’t be able to see every search term that their ads are shown for, so can’t use that data to make money-saving tweaks.

Since the update, your ads might show for low volume, irrelevant keywords – which wastes ad spend – but you won’t be able to see this data in your report. Studies have shown that up to 20% of ad spend will result in hidden keyword data, which is particularly frustrating for small businesses on a tight budget.

The update is also tricky for agencies that are in charge of a client’s ad spend. After all, clients don’t want to pay for a service to improve their business and end up losing money in the long-term.

Understandably, concerns have also been raised about how Google defines a “significant number of users”, and advertisers have been left frustrated by the lack of clarity provided in response from Google.


Why Has Google Removed Keyword Data?

The removal of keyword data is said to have been made to maintain privacy and build stronger protections around user data.


Image showing a LinkedIn post from Matt R thinks of What Google’s Removal of Keyword Data Means for Businesses


However, Google’s motives have been questioned by some advertisers, who have pointed out that Google lost money when advertisers changed their habits this year and were forced to spend less on adverts as a result of the pandemic.


Moving Towards Automation

Another suggestion for why Google has made this shift is that the company is moving forwards with automation – but this still raises concerns for advertisers – as they are having to place complete trust in Google algorithms to match query intent to keywords.

Prior to the update, users could see that algorithms had flaws by looking at the search terms report and seeing where they needed to adjust keywords or ad spend.

To avoid as much of this missing data as possible, advertisers would have to include more exact match variations of keywords, which in a lot of cases isn’t ideal. The benefits of broad match keywords are still vast but have to be taken into consideration with this new drawback.


What Are the Solutions to Removal of Keyword Data?

Although hidden search terms will be frustrating for businesses, advertisers can attempt to fill in some gaps by getting to know their audience better – whether that’s through segmenting audiences or using effective research methods.

In the meantime, it’s a matter of raising concerns and keeping up to date with the latest tips for creating successful Google Ads campaigns despite the removal of keyword data. For help with your PPC, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here and our friendly team will be in touch!




Has worked on hundreds of Google Ads accounts over 15+ years in the industry. There is possibly no vertical that he hasn't helped his clients achieve success in.

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