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The Truth About Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS)

What are Single Keyword Ad Groups?

Single Keyword Ad Groups, commonly referred to as as SKAGs, this is where you structure your campaign so you only have one keyword per ad group. And there are varying levels of this. Some people will go so far as to tell you to put different match types of the same keyword in different ad groups. A SKAG campaign could easily have hundreds of different ad groups.

The idea behind this strategy is that by having single keyword adgroups, each ad will be a perfect match to the keyword in each adgroup. That will in turn improve your quality score. (I talk more about quality score here: The Truth About Quality Score.)

The Problem with SKAGs

First of all, from a setup and management standpoint, SKAGs are horrible! The absoulte worst! It’s much more challenging to optimize and improve your campaigns when you’re using SKAGs because your data is just spread out too much. It’s harder to analyze things, you miss stuff, and it just doesn’t work very well.

Second, the ads actually come out worse with SKAGs. You’re not to write hundreds of ads for hundreds of ad groups. So what people do is they take a more templated approach and maybe they use dynamic keyword insertion, and they just end up with generic ads that have the keywords thrown into them, and they often don’t make sense. This leads to lower clickthrough rates and worst performance.

People don’t need to see ads that include the exact keywords they were searching for. They just need to see an ad that speaks to them based on the intent behind their search. If you just use topical ad groups where the keywords mostly mean the same thing, then you should be able to write ads that work for any and all of the keywords in that adgroup.

Finally, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI)  keeps getting better and better. Google can help you optimize your campaigns now with certain types of bidding. They can’t do everything for you, but they can surely help. In order for the AI to help, you need to have a good amount of data at the adgroup level. If you have all of your data spread out across hundreds of keywords, Google’s AI is never going to be able to help optimize anything.

I could find a way to get behind SKAGs if they did in fact lead to better performance. I would go through all the extra work of setting up and managing SKAG campaigns if it would improve results. But it doesn’t!

Bottom line:

Single keyword ad groups are a nightmare to set up and manage. They offer no benefits and they can’t be optimized as well as topical ad groups with several keywords.

If you want to experience the easiest way to build ad groups with several closely related keywords, so you can write relevant ads while also structuring your campaigns in a way that lets you benefit from Google’s AI, then check out my Keyword Burst software. It’s one of several tools in the Adleg Software Suite.

Check out this link for more information