By Astrid Van Heijl

You already know which search queries trigger an impression of your AdWords ad with the Matched Search Query report, but now the new Query Word Count report will demonstrate to you the performance of long-tail words versus the shorter-tail words, allowing you to dive into even more data that search queries have to offer.

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Five Ben years ago…

Of course, amongst the whizz kids this data was already available in GA, however this was not presented straight up in a report. Going back to November 2009, old-timer Ben wrote a blog on how to analyse longer & shorter keywords by creating segments (see the convoluted process below!).

Short-tail & long-tail keyword segments

Many advertisers like to segment AdWords search queries based on the number of words used in that query, as more detailed long-tail queries are likely to perform differently from short queries. So, you could, for example, create a segment for short keywords (queries with a word count between 1 and 3) and one for long keywords (queries with a word count of 4 or more). The report doesn't show you the actual number of words that a query consists of, but only shows you the queries themselves, so the best way to find out the number of words for a query is to export this to Excel and use a formula to group the queries by word count…

It's the final.. word count

From now on you can skip Ben's solution as there is no need to create difficult regex segments or custom reports to get your query word count (sorry, not sorry).

Where can I find it? Dive into GA and go to the Acquisition > AdWords > Search Queries report and switch the default primary dimension from 'Matched Search Query' to 'Query Word Count', as shown in the picture below. The dimension uses a space as the delimiter to provide a count of the words in the search query.

Where to find the Query Word Count

So what does it look like in the GA Interface? From the table below you can see that there is no need to get all your Query Word Count data manually, but just by simply clicking on a button. The Query Word Count report shows you the performance of long-tail words against the shorter-tail words. This will show you which number of words are driving the most traffic, have high bounce rates or generate high conversion rates etc. In the example below it shows that queries consisting of 8 words are good for business.

Query Word Count Report

By using the 'comparison' view below (icon marked in orange) you can easily see how the numbers of words perform on your site. The Ecommerce Conversion Rate is much better for those queries that are 4 words or more in length. Compared to the site average, queries that are 1, 2, 3 or 7 words in length have a poorer conversion rate. If you don't have Ecommerce enabled you can use your Goal Conversion Rate instead to gain more insight into your conversion data.

Query Word Count Comparison report

Also, look how nicely other reports like Term Cloud.. or a nice Percentage Pie chart will visualise your data:

Query Word Count Term Cloud report
Query Word Count Percentage Pie chart report

Now what can I do with it?

By clicking on any of the numbers, you can drill down to see the actual search queries behind the numbers. So by clicking on number '4', you get the results below and you can filter out which keywords are converting well and which aren't. By using these insights, you can try and see if you can boost your high-performing search queries by adding longer or shorter keywords in AdWords.

Query Word Count with Matched Search Query

Similarly, you can add a segment that excludes your brand terms as they will probably skew your data when you are more interested in seeing what the number of keywords will do for your products or services. To dive even deeper, create a segment for particular product(s) like in the example below. The table demonstrates that the Query Word Count drove conversions for a particular product (range). I also added a secondary dimension to see which campaign drove this traffic to the shopping basket and so in due course using this method you can review your campaign performance.

Query Word Count with campaign

Now let's get counting!

Try it yourself and when using the different reports compare different metrics with each other like bounce rate, average session duration or goal completions to see whether there are some nice correlations to be found. If you need any help to point you in the right direction then you can count on us - we're more than happy to help you out!

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