PPC Optimization – Organize Into Tightly Themed AdGroups

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So today I am organizing a PPC account.  This is an account that I took over from another agency.  The account has four different Campaigns with around seven different AdGroups throughout all the four different Campaigns.  In each of the AdGroups there are around 100 different keywords and keyword phrases.

What is wrong with this?

The fact that my client has 100 different keywords in one AdGroup is horrible.  You should only have around one to four keywords per AdGroup.  This will allow you to write ads with all your keywords in them.  This will improve your quality scores and lower your over cost per click for your account.

How long will this take?

It is long and hard work.  I was re-organizing this account today and it took around two hours per Campaign.  There is no easy way to do this.  I now have around forty different AdGroups now in this Campaign.  We went from three different AdGroups to around forty. Why?

  • This will allow us to easily identify keywords that are performing very well and other keywords that are under performing.
  • We will be able to see the AdGroups that are under performing and pause them.
  • This will allow us to test and find new AdGroups and keywords that will potentially convert better then the keywords that you are currently bidding on.

But REALLY, how long will it take?

It takes a really long time. I suggest you take the time to setup the account right from the start.  You should be thinking about each and every keyword when you do this.  I know an account is setup right if there is one keyword per AdGroup and there are two different text ads per keyword.  This will allow you to test every aspect and know if each keyword will really convert.  It is the easiest way to know if your account will convert.  Do it right.  It will take hours and hours to set up an account properly.  I imagine that this account will take around 16 -20 hours.  I know this may be a little overboard for some clients but I’d rather do to much then to little. This account will only spend around $1000/month and takes that long to setup.  This account will need around one thru three hours of maintenance a month.  After the first month is up I will typically do three to five hours of deep diving into each account like this and try and pause and start new keywords.

Each account that you manage should take a bit of your time.  I find that when I don’t set up an account right, I spend hours and hours not knowing what I should do next.  By setting up and account right you will save yourself time, money, and a lot of headaches not being able to explain to your clients what’s going on in their account.  You’ll be able to say that a certain keyword is converting and making them money.  Not to mention this is when you should bring up a bonus or up in management fees!

John Rampton
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. Founder at payments company Due.com. I enjoy helping people and am always online to... Read Full Bio
John Rampton
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  • Vamsi Mohan

    Wow John, that’s a wonderful post about micromanaging the PPC campaigns.

    This strategy will boost your CTRs as well bring you CPC down. You are really putting huge efforts to restructure the whole campaign because building 40 adgroups and keyword research is going to squeeze your mind.

    Yes many agencies offer ppc services basing on the keywords and there by keep adding keyword to each group.

    I was literally shocked to see one of the top branded SEo company in India doing the same mistakes. I was really able to increase the leads to 25-30 from 5-8 leads per day.

    I really understand the amount of time your had invested to restructure the campaign.

    • John Rampton

      Thanks for the great comment man, glad you liked it. It’s crazy to see how many PPC managers don’t micromanage their own accounts. It takes a while to setup but will help you save oodles of time in the future.

  • Richard

    Hi John

    Thx for the post – one Q. when you say 4 keywords to you mean:
    Keyword 1
    Keyword 2
    Keyword 3
    Keyword 4

    Or do you mean the term in many variations?
    Keyword 1 (i rarely use broad match but just for the example I have included)
    “Keyword 1”
    [Keyword 1]
    +Keyword 1
    +Keyword +1
    Keyword one
    “Keyword one”
    [Keyword one]
    +Keyword one
    +Keyword +one
    and so on?

    • John Rampton

      I would try and only have 2-3 different keywords in the same campaign total. If you are doing broad, exact, and phrase you can add a couple more to that but keep it VERY specific!

      • Richard

        Cheers John – always good to read others perspective – increasingly I am using a model similar to yours – it eliminates any doubts of the relationships with the keyword, the ad and hopefully the content

  • adumpaul

    Great tutorial.Thank you very much.

  • AdWords Australia

    Also a common mistake is not separating out high converting keywords into their own campaign to manage budgets.

    Unfortunately 90% of agencies campaigns are poorly structured from the start. Today our guys were complaining about a new campaign from another company exactly along the lines of your post. Offline spreadsheets with api macros are great productivity tools for this kind of work.

    Productivity needs to be a focus, once a campaign is beautifully setup, moving onto experiments and monitoring search terms is great value to the client.

    Genuine care and understanding of the clients market during setup makes a huge difference in the long term.

    • John Rampton

      So true, thanks for the very valuable comment!

  • Kristian Petterson

    You’re so right – broad ad groups are kryptonite to a PPC campaign’s efficiency.

    People think they can short-cut on this things – they’re only cheating themselves.

    • John Rampton

      I agree with you! Thanks for the great comment!

  • norm

    I disagree with the idea you should only have one to four keywords per adgroup, but maybe you mean in spirit and not literally?

    I’ll explain, first, I am a strong believer in bidding on exact, phrase and broad matching, and I will do this for almost every keyword I enter. I know a lot of people only bid on broad matches, including I think Google when they build campaigns for people. However bidding on exact matches allow you to get a lot more aggressive with your highly targeted keywords, without the added expense of also increasing your CPC for less valued broad matches.

    Also, and especially when you include location as a part of the search phrase (such as Miami Florida Tax Preparation), you will find many more then 1 to 4 different ways people will enter that search phrase. They will include variations of Florida and FL, Miami and South FL, Tax Preparation and Tax Prep, and qualifiers like “in”, “near”, etc.

    You want to bid on all of these highly valued keywords, will keeping the broad matches under control, especially since the broad match of “taxes” and “tax preparation” could and probably do have very different meanings.

    This is a very specific example, but I have yet to see a service or product that I have setup a campaign for that didn’t run into these issues. Therefore I highly disagree with only 1 to 4 keywords per ad group. I end up with many more then that, and they remain all highly targeted to the ads and landing pages.

    • John Rampton

      I did mean it more in the spirit. This was more for people that are newer to PPC and not more experienced PPC Experts with Phrase, Exact, and Broad matched terms. I do however still like to keep it to 2-3 basic keywords with different (broad, exact and phrase) matches in the AdGroup! This can sometimes amount to as many as 12 different keywords in an AdGroup. As long as your keywords are HIGHLY targeted to your specific ads, you’re good! Thanks for the great comment!

      • norm

        Then I agree John! It’s a great starter for getting into Adwords. Anyone who follows your instructions is off to a great start. It’s a great foundation to build upon.

  • James Byers

    WOW, Ok so I have found something that will help me to stop overspending and have better results. Thank you so much for this article. Well time to get to doing some work on this.

  • Eric Marshall

    This is great advice. I’ve always used focused ad groups, but I think I may need to start trying to break those down even further…it’s at least worth testing, right? Thanks!

  • Vamsi Mohan

    I do not see much value in adding a single keyword in all the three matching options.

    Each ad group has a value and by adding more keywords you are distributing the value with more number of keywords, diluting the value of each keyword. Though you are building a tightly packed ad group, I do not mean adding them in all the 3 matching options.