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How To Effectively Structure Your Ad Groups

The best way to structure your AdWords account and organize your ad groups is by creating thematically related keyword groups. Google’s algorithms pay a lot of attention to how related the text of a specific ad is to the actual search query. Your main goal should be to ensure that prospective customers as well as the Google algorithms find your ads extremely relevant to the search query. You want anyone who reads your ads to believe that they will get the answer to their question if they click on the ad.

If you sell to different markets it is important to setup separate specific campaigns and ad groups for each of the markets that you sell to. For example, a 1TB hard drive could be advertised differently, focusing on different markets. One ad group could target students and professionals. Another ad group for the same product could target the trades market. It is the same product, but since you’re targeting different markets, you’ll need to use different keywords and word the ads differently to effectively target the different markets.

Note that if you are marketing the same product to different groups of individuals, you will have to create a separate landing page for each market that specifically caters to that market.

The more keywords you have, the easier it would be to identify themes for your ad groups. However, it is more important to spend time organizing all of the keywords into thematically related groups. When placing keywords into ad groups, the important thing to remember is to keep each ad group as tightly themed as possible. Each of your ad groups should have one central, specific theme with specific ad text catering to that the keywords in that ad group so that you will be able to create ads that are extremely relevant to the keywords inside each ad group. It is important to segment your keywords into detailed ad groups based on action keywords.

As far as the actual bids for each keywords are concerned, the buying funnel will determine how much your should bid on specific keyword. For example, if you do not have any informational content that can help users in the research or awareness stage of the buying funnel, you’ll want to ensure that any bids you make on broad search terms are extremely low. In fact, you shouldn’t really be targeting people at this stage of the funnel.

What is a Theme?

A theme is best described as a core identifiable element of your product or service. It might be an adjective, attribute, color, description, etc. Themes are the key to creating very relevant ads, and creating thematically related groups of keywords is the first step to creating such ads. The more relevant the text in your ad is to the keywords or search query a particular customer types in, the better the ad rank and quality score of your ads is going to be. This will ultimately lower the cost per click, leading to better performing campaigns.

As already mentioned, creating thematically related groups of keywords in an ad group where the ad copy for that ad group is closely related to the keywords will not only lead to higher relevancy, it will also lead to higher click-through rates, which is the major component in your quality score.

Creating themes really is the first stage of organizing your keywords. To test your themes, write one highly targeted ad copy. After you write this ad copy, examine the keywords within that ad group. If the ad copy can relate to all of the keywords in that ad group, then each keyword is in the correct ad group. If the ad copy cannot be used to describe a particular keyword, then you will have to move that keyword to a more relevant ad group or create a new ad group for that keyword.

As an example, let’s assume you sell iPhone accessories and have an ad group: iPhone Leather Case. The first thing you want to do is to look at key identifiable traits or characteristics that describe each product you sell. However, these features cannot simply be chosen at random. They should be based on keyword research to find out the many different ways in which consumers describe the iPhone cases that they desire. Let’s assume that after keyword research, you discover that consumers use the following adjectives when searching for iPhone cases:

  • cute iPhone case
  • colorful iPhone cover
  • iPhone cover stylish
  • leather iPhone case

These are very specific features, and they are going to form the basis of your themes. “Case” and “Cover” are synonyms, and people that use either term generally refer to the same thing. You’ll need to create a specific ad group for each theme. If you simply create one ad group for all of these themes, then you won’t have the ability to cater individually to the specific needs and desires of each of the searchers. Your ad text would have to be generic in order to be relevant to all of the ads in a particular ad group.

The next step would be to find all of the different variations of the above themes. For example, a searcher might type in cute iPhone case or cute iPhone cover; colorful iPhone cover or colorful iPhone case, etc. also, some people use Apple, some use iPhone. So these are interchangeable and we need to cater for all sets of consumers that search for these products in all of the different ways.

You want to be able to capture all of the different ways in which prospective customers can search for these products. In this case, it means, you’ll need to create at least 2 keywords or variations for each theme. Essentially, you need to have the following versions in each ad group: broad match modifier, exact match and phrase match. Doing this will ensure that you capture all of the variations of what a person might type into the search query box

How Many Keywords To Use In an Ad Group

You want to target no more than 10-15 keywords in each ad group so that their theme remains tightly knit. If you had more keywords than that, you’ll probably find that you’ll be able to split the keywords into ad groups that are more tightly themed. By keeping the keywords tightly themed, it would be far easier to write ads that truly reflect and are relevant to all the keywords in that ad group.

There’s no one right way to or organize your keywords. You can’t know for sure at this point. The data you gather from Google Analytics will help optimize your campaign over time. Until then, simply create ad groups that are closely-knit and tight enough to be coherent and not so numerous as to defy effective management.

Key Points to Note:

Google bolds keywords in the search results.

When a searcher types any keyword or phrase into the Google search query box, on the search engine results page, every keyword the searcher types (except for a, an, the, for, and suchlike) appears in bold in every listing, whether sponsored or organic. Bold text catches the searcher’s eye.

Quality score is key.

The Quality Score of each keyword depends, in part, on how well it matches the ad: Google assigns a Quality Score to each keyword in your account. A poor Quality Score will increase your bid prices and make it more expensive for you to compete. If you have dozens of keywords in one ad group that all point to the same ads, it would be practically impossible to make them all relevant to those ads.

Talk to your prospects in their language.

If a searcher is in the market for organic foods for vegetarians and you use the exact lingo used by vegetarians in the headline of your ad, it will resonate well with them, and you will have scored an empathy point with the searcher. It clearly shows that you relate to them and have an understanding of them and their problems and challenges. Tap into their lingo and you effectively demonstrate some understanding of their problem.

Improve your ads by split testing.

If you don’t segment your market, you’re missing key split test data. You can find out your most effective ads by split testing your ads. For example, you may find that Ad #1 has a conversion rate of 3.6 with people who typed in the more specific black suede shoes and only 0.03 with people who typed black shoes.

Show visitors the most relevant landing page.

The ads written for each specific ad group should link to a highly relevant landing page on your site that revolves around that very specific topic. The potential buyer searching for blue suede shoes doesn’t want to land on your home page and have to start playing around with your site navigation. Potential customers today are looking for instant gratification.

If searchers are taken to your home page, your quality scores will suffer and your account will lose money. Searchers will simply go back to Google before trying to make their way through a site that wants to make them do some work in order to find what they were told would be on the page they were taken to. With a tight ad group, you can send all the traffic to a perfectly matched landing page for blue suede shoes. The easier you make it for your visitors, the more likely they are to follow your lead.

Easy Campaign Management

The structure of your ad group is one of the most important ingredients in the performance of your AdWords account. You should have one tight theme for each ad group, using only keywords that relate to the overall theme of the ad group. Organizing your ad group properly will help boost your quality scores and conversion rates significantly.

The best organization possible would be to write one ad copy for one keyword. This way, the keyword and the ad copy are always closely related. This may not always be possible. However, an ad copy written for a specific ad group should be written in such a way that describes exactly one service or product.


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