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What could be accounting for such a huge increase in just one keyword?
Have you tried searching for the term and see what comes up, and also look at your analytics and see what search terms are sending people to your site, a few are likely to click by accident and it may give you some clues as to what they are actually looking for (that is assuming that you are not seeing a corresponding increase in clicks)
Run a search query report tomorrow or the next day (or use the Analytics filter that extracts the true search term) to see if it's a broad match gone wild. That can happen.
Twice in the past few months I've experienced huge spikes in organic SERPS because a term that appears on one of my sites has been a crossword puzzle clue. (Good thing it *wasn't* AdWords traffic, might have cost a fortune) Stuff as silly as that can explain these weird anomalies.
(And it's rather disheartening to learn how many people cheat and look up crossword clues in Google!)
Oftentimes, a keyword will be similar or identical to a town, festival, album, merger, other product, whatever that is getting suddenly widespread mentions in the news.
You may find a lead story announcing "Fancy Widgets Announces New Partnership With Starbucks".
More than once I've been surprised that way. Still recall my britney widgets ;) - just kidding.
Then add a liberal dose of -keywords to offset those errant searches.
In fact now as a matter of course, before starting a campaign, I search the keyword and proactively begin eliminating all the searches I don't want to appear for. Things I wouldn't have thought of on my own.
and on and on. Check your logs and Search Query and Analytic filters in order to find out what these people really wanted.
Who would have known? I'm not hip to popular culture anymore!
The -kw list can and often should get quite large depending on the contexts your keyword can also be used in.
I was also surprised to learn that there is a legitimate use for making a single keyword "phrase" type. Keeps the Adwords algo from applying expanded broad match to perceived mis-spellings!
I'll bet you a pint that explains your sudden surge. Seen it all too many times before.
Sorry, I type slower and less concisely than Netmeg and Yoshimi who said it all in a couple of paragraphs...
I think you all said it rather well, Israel. ;)
I still recall working with a stunned advertiser many years ago who was not watching his account, and who returned to it to find an 'inexplicable' 10x (or was it 100X? I can't recall) spike in traffic for a single keyword - which was a fashion magazine title.
Turns out the hottest teen pop star at the time had appeared on the cover, wearing very little.
I assume you have your daily budget set to an amount your are comfortable spending. Just b/c you don't normally spend the daily budget does not mean it won't happen tomorrow and you will receive a huge bill.
Does anyone else have access to your account and maybe took out some of your negative keywords?
It could be a spike in traffic, like when a celebrity dies or is in a scandal their search volume goes UP and UP and UP.
Install Google analytics and see what keywords people are actually tying in.
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:
Are you making a profit or a loss with the increased in impressions and traffic?
This is for a low volume set of words, and just a slight increase was quite noticeable.
Coincidence? I think not. Anyone else seen this?
> It could be a spike in traffic, like when a celebrity dies or is in a scandal their search volume goes UP and UP and UP.
A couple of years ago, I was managing a campaign for a client. They sell among other things a brand of clothes for kids called Charlie Rocket. I wasn't aware there was an entertainer by that name. When he died, impressions shot up. Negatives could have prevented this, had I known about this guy.
[...] A couple of years ago, I was managing a campaign for a client. They sell among other things a brand of clothes for kids called Charlie Rocket. I wasn't aware there was an entertainer by that name. When he died, impressions shot up. Negatives could have prevented this, had I known about this guy
This makes a great case for something that I was posting about in another thread recently: doing a search for your most important keywords on your favorite search engine (*cough*) and checking out the first hundred or so search results to find out how else your keyword may be used out there in the wide wide world.
A good point and illustration, LucidSW, thanks.