The 8 Steps of SQR’s in E-Learning

Search Query Reports, or SQR’s for short, are reports you download straight from your Google Ads account. These reports will show you which queries or “search terms” your keywords triggered while advertising. For example, if your E-Learning account is advertising on the term “online courses” in Broad match, you will be triggering tons of different queries. This will attract everything from “online e-learning courses” to “online degrees” to even “online school for design.” Thus, SQRs are vital in monitoring what kind of traffic your keywords are bringing in and determining whether or not these search terms should be added to your account.

Below, we will highlight the steps and things to look out for when you are conducting an SQR for your E-Learning search campaign in Google Ads:

1. Pivot the downloaded data with these key metrics: search terms, clicks, impressions, cost, conversions. You will also want to include average CPC because this will be used to determine your initial max CPC.

2. Review the search terms to ensure they are relevant and worth bidding on as keywords. Sometimes search terms can convert but are not high-quality keywords you should be bidding on. For example, if you are getting leads for programs you do not offer, then maybe these keywords should not be added to the account. It is always best to check back-end data, especially on queries that represent programs you do not offer.

3. Create tailored ad-groups based on the search term. These ad-groups should be tailored because the ad-group will be used as reference when creating your ads and will have an overall impact on your quality score. High relevancy equals high-quality score.

4. Review the new keywords and determine the most relevant Final URL that the user should be sent to when they search this keyword. For example, if they are looking for a specific program, you are going to want to send them to that program’s URL, as opposed to your homepage.

5. Next, it’s time to determine which campaigns each keyword should exist in. Each keyword should fall under the program they belong to. For example, if you offer graphic design, then a graphic design search term should exist in a graphic design campaign.
Copy over the campaign and ad-group to a new tab and label the tab “Ads.” You are going to want to delete all duplicates, because each campaign/ad-group needs to be unique – multiple ads can live within the same campaign/ad-group.

6. Copy over the campaign and ad-group to a new tab and label the tab “Ads.” You are going to want to delete all duplicates, because each campaign/ad-group needs to be unique – multiple ads can live within the same campaign/ad-group.

7. You are going to create a Headline 1, Headline 2, Description, Path 1, Path 2, and Final URL. You can also create additional headlines and descriptions as Google allows more than one for each ad. Your Headline 1 should be tailored to your ad-group, which is tailored to your keyword. This ensures your ad copy relevance scores high in Google’s criteria. But, make sure you are not advertising programs you do not offer or are making any false claims. Please reference our previous article about legal ramifications of ad copy in the education industry.

8. Add a label column to your ads and Label this first set of ad copy, so you can easily track this ad copy and create multiple variations.

Now, let’s dive deeper into why it is so important to conduct SQR’s in E-Learning. SQR’s are one of the greatest ways for any marketer to analyze data from prospective students. This data allows you to further understand how your target audience responds to what your institution has to offer as well as their current stage of the marketing funnel. Queries will vary from the top of the funnel – where prospective students are choosing which programs they want to study – and then all the way down the funnel where they are making the decision to apply to a specific institution. For example, a long-tail query like “how do I learn to create characters?” is probably being searched by someone high in the funnel who is learning about which programs will teach them this skill. Hence, you should tailor your ad copy differently than someone searching something like “four-year graphic design degree.” This concept applies to various metrics, not just ad copy. Prospective students who are lower into the funnel are also usually more valuable, so you can bid a little higher compared to someone in the exploratory stages. Below, we will highlight some of the biggest benefits of adding these search terms into your account as a keyword through SQR’s:

  1. Tailored ad copy – tailor your ad copy based on the query, where the prospective student is in the funnel, and increase your CTR & ad-relevance
  2. CPC control – since the query is now a keyword you will have control over how much or less you bid on this keyword
  3. Tailored landing page – you can now determine what the Final URL will be for this query because it is now a keyword
  4. Quality Score – you will increase the quality score of this query because it is now a keyword with relevant ad copy & improved landing page

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