Keyword mining can be such a repetitive task. You dive through your website looking for new keywords, you run search query reports, check projections, test, and then repeat the process. When Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) arrived they became a valuable asset to keyword research. By scanning your website and generating a list of keywords, as well as a Headline and Display URL for your ads, DSAs became a “catch all” for keywords you might have missed in your research. Now, there is a way to leverage your Dynamic Search Ad campaign to find new keywords for your account.

DSAs, Meet Negatives

The process is easy enough. You take every single keyword, running or paused, in your AdWords account and add it to a negative keyword list for a new DSA campaign. You then add your current negatives to the list, create an ad for the campaign, and let it run. With every keyword currently in the account set as a negative, this new ad campaign will only catch for search queries that have not been triggered by the current keyword set. Let it run for a few weeks to a month or longer, depending on the traffic in your AdWords account, and then run a search query report. This SQR will list out potential new keywords and negatives that can then be added to your ad campaigns for testing. It is a simple strategy, but it works wonders. Let’s see how we set that up.

Preparing Your DSA Keyword Mining Campaign

Step 1: Download Your Keyword List

Go into your AdWords account, go to Keywords, set to All keywords, and then download the Keyword Report. Do the same for your negatives, downloading both the Ad Group level and Campaign level.

Step 2: Consolidate Keywords

Take the three keyword reports downloaded and consolidate them into one list. You only need the Keyword column data from each report, so delete the other columns as you consolidate. Once you end up with your one column of keywords, go up to Data, Delete Duplicates. This gets rid of any duplicate keywords and will help when uploading the keyword list into the campaign in the next step.

Step 3: Create the DSA Campaign

The next step is to to create your Dynamic Search Ad campaign. You will want it to point to your home page or main landing page in order reach the broadest audience. Then create your ad, set a budget, and add the negative keyword list to the new campaign. Once uploaded, you are good to go. Continue to monitor to ensure it is running smoothly and in a few weeks you should have some new keywords to begin testing!


It is important to note that this campaign strategy is great at discovering new keywords, but it is not optimized for conversions. Since it is a “catch all” of missed opportunities, the ads may not always align with the search queries they trigger. This can lead to a low CTR and conversion rate in the campaign. Therefore, approach this campaign with the understanding and expectation that is is a testing ground for finding areas of growth within the account. As a recent example, for a smaller client we ran a DSA keyword mining campaign for a month, finishing with a .65% CTR and .54% conversion rate. From the SQR we pulled off the campaign, we found a few new negative keywords to add and that saved us around $200 a month.

The DSA Keyword Mining campaign is a simple strategy, but it can help with the incremental growth we strive to achieve within an account. By setting every current keyword as a negative you will trigger search queries previously unthought-of for the account leading you to new keywords and negatives to implement and further the success of your paid search campaigns.

I would love to hear about your keyword mining strategies and your success stories with this strategy on twitter.