How to sort search terms

Many years ago I made it a principle to sort all search terms , so I was able to:


Google’s interface

Since that time Google’s interface have challenged my decision with problems like:

  • I have to filter the search terms, so I only see search terms that isn’t keywords all ready
  • If I don’t add the search term as positive or negative keywords, it will show up every time I sort the search terms
  • I have to count if a search terms have more than 80 characters or 10 words. If I miss a word I have to find it in a list of 500 search terms to upload my sorting
  • If I use short lists, they will fill up with search terms I can’t sort and if I use long lists I use long time to find errors that prevent me uploading.
  • If search term have a forbidden word, I need to ask for an exemption/review or delete it. That option just doesn’t work sometimes (if to many words need exemption)
  • If I select all search terms and then deselect search term, I don’t want to add as search keywords, when Adwords have been selecting the search terms I had been deselecting, when I scrolled (both when I could see it and when it was out of sight)
  • Etc.


Our approach

Sorting your search terms leads directly and indirectly to great results. So the question is how do we take the pain out of the process and make it a fast process. Here are some of the things we did:

  • Remove the search terms that have more than 80 characters or 10 words (no more counting)
  • Remove all search term you have already made a decision about what to do with (only sort a search term once)
  • Presort the search terms in two lists: One, we call promising, which have search terms that are similar to the keywords, you are using in your adgroup and unsorted, which are search terms we don’t know or we don’t see as a good fit
  • Setting the search terms in alphabetical order, because if the search terms start with the same word, you can concentrate on the last part of the keyword
  • Make it possible to sort with your keyboard, because it is not a training section of your motor skills
  • Not showing statistic, so you only have to concentra if it is a relevant keyword
  • Have a default match(s) type
  • No scrolling
  • Adding negative and positive keywords at the same time
  • Search the keyword in Google inside the sorting interface
  • Etc.

Our tests have shown that users use 5 times less time compared with the Google interface. We are still working on bringing time further down and quality up.

This is how you sort with the tool:

  • You make an account, connect it with your Google Ads account.
  • You can either download your search terms at Campaigns level (By selecting a campaign and click on “Import search terms for all Ad Groups” ) or at Ad Group level (by selecting a adgroup and click on “Import words => Adwords search terms”.
  • Before you importing the search terms, you need to decide the time interval. I always choose “all time” and the match type you want the search terms to be added as. You can choose several.
  • Click import and start sorting


This is how you sort:

Left arrow <= Will add the search term as positive search keyword
Right arrow => Will add the search term as a negative keyword
Zero “0” Will add the search term as a paused keyword (so you don’t have to sort the keyword again. It is for keywords you don’t want as positive or negative keywords)
Arrow up and down Will change which keyword you sort.
Space will search the keyword in Google


You can sort using your mouse (it is much slower for most tasks)

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