Q and A: What is the Best Keyword Approach for Google AdWords?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve seen two totally different approaches to AdWords keywords this week and I was wondering if I could get your opinion on them?

Both account mangers target roughly a million residents in their target markets and have the same type of business.

The first manger prefers to focus on 32 keywords providing about 64 ads.  Over the past 30 days, 10 of those keywords have no impressions and therefore no clicks (20 ads).

The second manager prefers to focus on 340 keywords providing 600+ ads.  Over the past 30 days, 239 of those keywords have no impressions (478 ads).

I side with the first manager, but I didn’t want to second guess the other.

Does having that many no impression keywords have any negative affect on how AdWords views the account?

Which keyword management system would you prefer?

Thanks a lot,

Brendan

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Hi Brendan

There are too many variables to that scenario to be able to give you a fair opinion on either approach. Numbers don’t really matter as much as parameters. Firstly, are the two approaches for the exact same campaign and campaign settings? Having the same type of business is not enough information to compare the two fairly.

Secondly, are these brand new AdWords accounts – are they in the testing phase where they are both testing new keywords? This is crucial. If yes, then I strongly recommend the second approach – the *spray and stick* approach where you basically try as many keyword combinations as you can in a set period and see which ones build the most impressions and/or clicks. In terms of number of keywords and ads per AdGroup, there really is no magic number. It all depends on how tightly you theme your AdGroups. Some AdGroups may target very few keywords, but others may still have a tight theme, but many similar keyword combinations that all need targeting.

It also depends on your chosen match type. If you have mostly chosen Broad Match targeting, you will have fewer keywords, because Broad Match will automatically trigger your ads for more keyword combinations without you needing to specifically target all the possible combinations. Target [Exact Match] and you will likely have a lot more keywords in your AdGroups. It really is relative to the products/services you are advertising and the way you have structured your campaigns.

As for how Google views the account – I’m assuming you are talking about Quality Score here? See this article about how Google determines Quality Score. If keywords have zero impressions, it simply means people aren’t searching for those keywords. This shouldn’t affect your Quality Score for those particular keywords, but having non-performing keywords within your account may impact the overall quality of your account. You should pause any non-performing keywords – or better still, delete them – to ensure they don’t impact your entire account.

However, if you get impressions but no clicks, then THAT will affect your Quality Score. Please note that landing pages and ad text can have much more of an impact on your Quality Score than you may realize. So in my opinion, you’d be better off making sure your ad text and landing pages reflect the keywords you ARE targeting than worrying about a specific number of keywords or how many impressions those keywords attract.

My tried and tested approach to AdWords (and Bing Ads for that matter) is to make sure every single AdGroup is constructed tightly around a particular theme or topic, so that I can allocate only the most relevant keywords to each AdGroup and build my ad copy around that specific theme. Sometimes that means having hundreds of AdGroups in a single campaign.

Once campaigns are beyond the testing phase, I review each AdGroup every 30 to 60 days and delete all keywords and ads that have received zero impressions and zero clicks, pause all keywords and ads that have received clicks but zero conversions and add all new keywords suggested by AdWords. Then I take a close look at the keywords/ads I paused to see if I can improve the Quality Scores by tweaking them. Then I un-pause them and let them run another 30-60 days before starting the cycle again.

Try this approach and see how much better your campaign performs.

Good luck!

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