Semrush updates all of the keywords in our database every month. The Position Changes report in Advertising Research lets you see how a domain’s advertising positions change on a monthly basis as their ads move up or down in rank within Google Ads placements.
This report is valuable in analyzing how your competitors are performing lately and identifying if they are making any changes to their advertising strategy.
What does this data mean?
There are a number of reasons why a website’s advertising positions change. New keywords can indicate a competitor’s new deals or offers. Lost keywords could indicate the end of a campaign or simply a failure to keep pace with the competition for expensive keywords. Another reason you may see a change in keywords is because Google doesn’t always show the same exact ads every time you search for a keyword.
Since Semrush only updates this database once a day, we can’t guarantee that we’re seeing every single ad that Google displays. Because of this, keywords may appear and disappear from this report even if the advertiser hasn’t stopped their campaign for the keyword.
Reading the Position Changes Report
At the top of this report, you’ll see a graph with vertical bars indicating the spread of new and lost keywords for every recent date. If you select “Improved” or “Declined” from the top filters, it will measure those keywords instead. You can also adjust the device (desktop or mobile) and date (if you have access to historical data).
New Keywords: keywords where the domain has started ranking an ad in Google’s top paid 8 positions (and was not ranking at the time of the previous update).
Lost Keywords: keywords where the domain was ranking an ad in Google’s top 8 paid positions in the previous data update, but is not ranking currently.
Improved: keywords where the domain has increased its ranking in Google’s top 8 paid positions.
Declined: keywords where the domain has decreased its ranking in Google’s top 8 paid positions, but still has a ranking.
You can adjust the date range of the graph at the top of the page (one month, six months, one year, two years or all time).
By clicking on any of the blue or red bars representing a specific month, the given bar will turn green and you’ll be given that date-specific report for the group of keywords you chose.
The New report is an excellent way to see if your competition is making any changes to their keyword targeting strategy. In the US database, the most popular keywords are updated every day. So, for any advertisers bidding on high volume keywords that are a part of the most popular keywords, a report on their site will be updated every day.
Here you can see the positions of these new keywords, along with their costs per click, competition levels, and more. Click on the arrow beside any of the URLs to see the landing page of the ad. Just like with the Positions report, you’ll be able to preview the ads by hovering over the green “Ad” button, or see the ad as it appeared on the results page with the buttons under the Block and SERP columns.
The Lost report provides insight into any keywords that your competitors were outbid on or any keywords that they are no longer committing part of their budget towards targeting. These keywords could become opportunities for you to target if you have content on your site that is relevant to the keywords.
The position column indicates the previous rank that the ad held for the domain. Again, you can hover over the green “Ad” icon for a preview of how the ad appeared and click on the buttons under the Block or SERP columns to see how the ad appeared within the results page the last time we saw it ranked.
Improved & Declined Reports
The improved and declined reports show positive or negative changes in a domain’s paid ad rankings while remaining in the top 8 Google Ads positions. In the table of keywords, the current position and previous position will be shown, next to the column indicating the position difference. You can sort these reports by position difference to see which keywords experienced the biggest decrease or jump in ranking.
Keywords appearing in multiple reports
You may come across a situation where a keyword is found in both the new and lost, or both the improved and declined reports. If this is the case, it means there are multiple landing pages or ads that the domain is running for the same keyword. One of the ads may be improving while the other could be declining. The reason for this change could mean the quality score of the ad in Google Ads has changed, there is an increase in competition for a certain keyword, or that the advertiser is making two different bids on a keyword with two different ads.
The filters of this report are also the same as the Positions report. There are over ten filtering options and you can apply multiple filters at once. After applying filters, you can export the table to a CSV, CSV semicolon, or Excel file.
If you want to take a look at the changes in positions among mobile keywords, simply select the mobile button at the top of the report. You can view all Advertising Research reports for mobile keywords. This will give you insight into what keywords are performing differently on mobile devices compared to desktop, and you can analyze how your competitors are targeting different terms in their mobile strategies.