Single Keyword Ad Group Strategy


The goal of your PPC search ads is to get customers to convert by matching what they are searching for with relevant offers. This idea of relevance is huge in PPC marketing. The more relevant your ads to the keyword, the more likely people are to convert and the higher your Quality Scores.

The more keywords that you have in an ad group, the more difficult it is to remain relevant. Even if all of the words have close connections, it can be challenging to write ad copy and landing pages that are on topic with every keyword in a group.

This led to the rise of SKAGs: single keyword ad groups. The idea behind single keyword ad groups is that by having only one keyword to focus on, you can make landing pages and ads specific to that one word. This guarantees relevance.

The single keyword ad group strategy is old and Google Ads has undergone plenty of changes since then. Are SKAGs still a viable strategy? Let’s find out.

What Are Single Keyword Ad Groups?

As mentioned, single keyword ad groups, or SKAGs, are designed to include only one keyword. When you only have one search term in the ad group, you can customize the ad and landing page experience specific to that one word.

Again, it’s all about relevance. The more relevant your ad messages, the more likely customers are to click and eventually convert. Thus, creating an advertisement that is a perfect match for the search term is an obvious winning strategy.

What Are The Benefits Of The Single Keyword Ad Group Strategy?

Relevant ad messages are an important factor in successful PPC, but it is not the only reason that SKAGs are a popular strategy. Here are a few other benefits of using single keyword ad groups.

Higher Clickthrough Rates

Historically, SKAGs saw higher clickthrough rates because of their enhanced relevance. If you search for something very specific and see the same keywords you used in the headline of the ad, then you’re going to be much more likely to choose that ad message over results that don’t include the same words.

Improved Quality Scores

Higher clickthrough rates and increased keyword relevance are major factors that Google uses to assess Quality Scores. This is Google’s way of grading how good your ad groups are and it can have a lot of great benefits, like making your ads more likely to place at the top of the results page.

Lower CPC

One of the other benefits of hgh Q-Scores is lower costs on clicks. Google wants to reward the best, most relevant ad experiences by having them pay less for the coveted top spots. Thus, many marketers used SKAGs as an easy way to boost their Quality Scores and save money on clicks.

Bid Control

On the topic of click costs and bidding, single keyword ad groups also offer better control over your bids. Since each important keyword receives its own ad group, you can assess a bid specific to that term. If you’re in a very competitive field where search terms can cost $10 or more for each click, having a tight grip on your bids is great.

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Easy To Learn

The majority of Google Ads best practices and strategies can require a lot of technical know-how and expertise. The single keyword ad group strategy, on the other hand, is comparatively simple, which made it very easy for Google Ads beginners to learn. When one keyword is paired with an ad that 100% matches, it makes the data very straightforward and easy to manage.

What Are The Drawbacks Of The Single Keyword Ad Group Strategy?

While there are plenty of advantages to using SKAGs, there are also some downsides that are worth mentioning. Some are more obvious than others.


Naturally, if you want to create a unique ad for every single keyword, it’s going to take a lot more time. Even if you only adopt the SKAG approach for your most valuable keywords, you’re still looking at creating several different ad messages. For most keywords, you’ll create at least two different ads. Plus, you need to assess bid amounts and develop relevant landing pages.

Hard To Monitor

If you’ve developed SKAGs for all of your top keywords, then you have individual search terms reports on each one. This is both a gift & a curse. On the gift side, when you look at an individual keyword report, the data is very easy to follow because it only involves a single search term. However, it also means that you have lots of different search term reports and getting an overhead view of all of these one-keyword ad groups can be challenging.

Slower Testing

Getting results in your ad groups is important because it acts as feedback to let you know when your efforts are working or not. When you have ad groups with a handful of keywords, click data rolls in relatively quickly. With SKAGs, it may take much longer because you’re only attracting clicks from a single search term. Thus, it may take you over two months to have enough data to determine which ad messages perform best or if your landing pages are working properly.

Low Search Volume Status

When Google detects that a keyword is experiencing very little search traffic, it gives it the “Low Search Volume” status in your reports. On the surface, it’s not a big deal. But, what actually happens is that Google stops firing ads for these keywords because they have such low traffic. So, if you’re creating SKAGs for keywords that don’t see a lot of traffic on their own, then you could be really hurting your PPC efforts.

Conclusions: Are Single Keyword Ad Groups Still Relevant?

This is a question of debate in the PPC world. Google Ads has undergone plenty of changes since the SKAGs approach first came onto the scene. Changes to search term variants match types and new features, like synonyms and intent matches, have made it much harder to implement SKAGs. In many cases, they’ve rendered the approach useless.

That said, SKAGs are not totally dead and you may have some keywords in your targeting list that still benefit from the strategy.


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