October 23, 2017

Are You Making These 7 Google AdWords Mistakes? (Mistake #1)

Series: 7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.AdWords mistakes

Mistake #1 – Too many keywords per ad group.

I see this mistake all the time and, as a new AdWords advertiser, it’s not exactly 100% your fault. I’ll explain why.

Google (and Yahoo and MSN) pretty much lead you down a path of adding way to many keywords per ad group right from the account set-up stage when they ask you to add your keywords. How many of you had a list of 100 or so and just added them into one ad group to get going? See what I’m getting at?

Well I’m here to tell you that it most definitely is a big mistake, but it is understandable given the way the account set-up process works.

While there is no single correct answer when it comes to the number of keywords per group, the aim of the game is simple – each ad group should only contain highly targeted, related keywords that focus on a specific product or service.

Take a look back at all your ad groups and ask yourself, “Are these groups individually targeting a single product, service, or action?” If not then you have some work to do.

Here is a really basic example.

A business called “Leigh’s Widgets” sells, you guessed it, widgets!

Here is the initial Keyword list (all in one ad group):

Ad Group 1:

  • widgets
  • widget
  • widgets online
  • widgets sale
  • widget reviews
  • compare widgets
  • buy widgets
  • widget model 123abc
  • small widgets
  • small widgets online
  • buy small widgets
  • cheap small widgets
  • house widgets
  • house widgets online
  • buy house widgets
  • cheap house widgets
  • large widgets
  • large widgets online
  • buy large widgets
  • cheap large widgets

There are simply too many different products or services being targeted with this list. Firstly we’ve got generic ‘widget’ terms, then we’ve got comparison and review terms, followed by specific models and/or product types.

Not only is this ad group not focused, but it’s also targeting keywords that may well be relevant to vary different parts of the buying cycle (Important – we’ll cover keyword research and the buying cycle in detail in another post).

So stepping back at and looking at this, here is one possible way I’d structure these keywords into numerous ad groups:

Ad Group 1: (Generic / Head terms)

  • widgets
  • widget
  • widgets online

Ad Group 2: (sale)

  • widgets sale

Ad Group 3: (review)

  • widget reviews

Ad Group 4: (compare)

  • compare widgets

Ad Group 5: (buy)

  • buy widgets
  • cheap widgets
  • widgets sale

Ad Group 6: (model 123abc)

  • widget model 123abc

Ad Group 7: (small – generic/head)

  • small widgets
  • small widgets online

Ad Group 8: (buy small)

  • buy small widgets
  • cheap small widgets
  • small widgets sale

Ad Group 9: (house – generic/head)

  • house widgets
  • house widgets online

Ad Group 10: (buy house widget)

  • buy house widgets
  • cheap house widgets

Ad Group 11: (large – generic/head)

  • large widgets
  • large widgets online

Ad Group 12: (buy large widget)

  • buy large widgets
  • cheap large widgets

You’ll notice I’ve got a number of ad groups now with only 1 keyword – this is intentional. If there are no other keywords in your list that are relevant/related, then build an ad group with just the one keyword. You may also find keywords you have missed as you do this too.

Take a look at Ad Group 3 – ‘widget reviews’  is the only keyword in this list, yet, we really should include related keywords like ‘widget review’, ‘review of widget’ ‘online reviews of widget’, ‘online widget reviews’ etc.

In some instances, you may expand an ad group with additional relevant terms only to discover that you could then break that ad group up even further. This is OK! I recommend it!

Why are we going to all this trouble? Well the simple fact is that if your Ad text/copy for a given ad group is highly related to all the keywords in that ad group, then you’re going to have a better quality ad, higher click through rate, and ideally, a highly relevant landing page.

Combine all these factors and you’re potentially doing PPC better than 95% of the other advertisers who are bidding on that same term!

One of the biggest issues with having too many different product or service related keywords in a group is that it’s almost impossible to create a good ad that works for every one of them. There is such a thing called Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) (again a topic for another post entirely) which can add the keyword that triggered the ad into the ‘ad copy’. However DKI is something that needs to be done very carefully (and in some instance avoided).

But ultimately, if you are selling different types of ‘widgets’ to people at different stages in the buying cycle, would it not make sense to write ads that would appeal to directly to that type of mindset, rather than trying to write one ad to suit all possible searches?

Yes it would! And breaking up your ad groups into smaller tight groups will help you get it right.

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About Leigh Hanney

Leigh Hanney is a marketing consultant helping companies optimise and execute digital marketing strategy and improve ROI.
Connect with Leigh on Google+ Leigh Hanney+

Comments

  1. What you say about splitting Adword Groups makes sense, and I agree, it’s opposite to what you’re encouraged to do by Google.

  2. spot on Lethal 🙂

  3. Thanks Jess… Maybe I should also post about the ‘other 6 mistakes’ now too 😉

  4. Thanks Lee – You point about “a highly relevant landing page” is moot. Maybe it should be emphasised a little more strongly?

  5. Thanks FCG – appreciate the feedback 🙂

  6. Thanks for this, very helpful! So I have two ad groups, with 50 words in each, that have been running for 2 months with dismal CTR. Do you recommend I start from scratch? What’s the best way to proceed from here to break up my keywords? Do I look at CTR, or Clicks? thanks for any help you can give!
    🙂

  7. Hey Jeanne, depends, but if you break up the existing ad groups by keyword theme, and make sure the ads for each group are related to the keyword, things may well improve.

    and don’t forget the match types and negative terms!

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