The answer is: One focus

It isn’t about how many keywords there is in an ad group, but how you optimize these factors:

Ads (CTR, Quality score, conversion)
Adwords management
– Synergy

Lets look into these factors before we state best practice.

Ads
Each Adgroup have a number of ads and keywords. The keywords activate the ads. You can’t link certain keywords to certain ads. All keywords activate all ads. If you want other ads for certain keywords, then you need to make a new ad group.

I am sure you know this relationship. I just want to be 100% sure you know how important it is. I have seen lots of account, where I am sure the expert know the relationship, they just act like they don’t give a damn.

Answer the question
Ad group managementEach keyword is a question and every ad should be an answer. So every question should have an ad group.

Exact match between keyword and ad = Bold words in the ad
Searchers don’t read the results, they scan them. They use the keyword, they used to search with, to find similarities to find the best result fast. Google not only knows that, they will also amplify it, by marking all similar words bold in the ads (they stop doing that with the headline, but it stand out already).

One keyword adgroup
Is the most target adgroup and outperform other more broad ad groups almost all the time.

Let’s say that you made an ad group around the keyword: “tesla model s tires” with a landing page where you sell tires for Tesla model s. You could just add two keywords (tesla model s tires & tesla s tires) in modified broad and exact match, but I would recommend you to add more keywords that all have at least “tesla s tires” in them or are very similar. It could be keywords like:

best snow tires for tesla model s
best tires for tesla model s
best winter tires for tesla model s
tesla model s 19 tire size
tesla model s 19 tires
tesla model s 21 inch tires
tesla model s 21 tire size
tesla model s best tires
tesla model s michelin tires
tesla model s michelin tires
tesla model s oem tires
tesla model s p85+ tires
tesla model s p85d tires
tesla model s performance tires
tesla model s snow tires
tesla model s spare tire
tesla model s standard tires
tesla model s stock tires
tesla model s tire chains
tesla model s tire diameter
tesla model s tire dimensions
tesla model s tire life
tesla model s tire noise
tesla model s tire price
tesla model s tire specs
tesla model s tire torque
tesla model s tire width
tesla model s tires
tesla model s tires 21
tesla model s tires cost
tesla model s tires run flat
tesla model s tires size
tesla model s wider tires
tesla model s winter tires
tesla s p85d tires
tesla s snow tires
tesla s tire life
tesla s tire size
tesla s tires
tesla s winter tires
tires for tesla model s
tires on tesla model s
winter tires for tesla model s
tesla model s flat tire
tesla model s low tire pressure
tesla model s service tire pressure system
tesla model s tire pressure
tesla model s tire pressure 21
tesla model s tire pressure monitor
tesla model s tire pressure psi
tesla model s tire pressure sensor
tesla model s tire problems
tesla model s tire warranty
tesla model s tire wear
tesla model s winter tire pressure
tesla s tire pressure
tesla s tire repair kit
tesla s tire wear

Adwords for Tesla model s tiresIf someone search for: “Tesla model s tires”, you make a compelling argument that they should buy the Tesla model s tires from you. I am sure you do much better than others that have nice ads for: “car tires”.

When target ads compete with untarget ads, you usually see unbelievable numbers. It depends on the competitions, but I see numbers like:

CTR: Between 10-50% (High if you are the only one giving a direct answer)
Expected quality score: 9-10
Expected click-through rate: Above average
Ad relevance: Above average (Because you use the same keywords in the ads as the searcher)
Landing page experience: Above average (If you landing page answer the question)
Click price: 10-90% of average click price (because of the high CTR and quality score)
Conversion rate: 5-50% (High; because searchers know what they get and if you deliver, they can just finish their search at the landing page)
Market share: High (High CTR and Conversion rate = High market share)

I know there are a big difference between campaigns, so please see number as indications.

Adwords management
It is often overlooked, how difficult it is to make and maintain a general Adwords campaign. You have to make ads that appeal to many different problems.

When you sort search terms, you have to do a lot more thinking. One of the big problems is that similar relevant keywords start appearing in many different ad groups and how do you manage that.

If you have a one keyword/focus ad group, it is much easier. When the ad group is so focused, it is easy to make ads and difficult to make improvements. When you sort the search terms, it is also much easier. You just have to answer: Does it have ex. “tesla s tires” in the keyword and are the searcher looking for tires for her Tesla? If yes, then you add the keyword.

So even it is more time consuming to make one keyword/focus ad group, it is much easier to maintain.

Synergy effects
Synergy with the rest of the organisationI have had many discussions with other SEM-professionals about Adwords organic impact. They say that they never seen any impact and Google say that there are watertight seals between organic results and Adwords.

It is just not what I have been seeing. If you are driving long tail paid traffic to a page, that is a good result for the keywords, when you see an increase in organic traffic. It use to be one paid click and you got two extra organic for free. Now it fluctuate more.

Off the record, Google employees have no problem talking about it, because it is an argument of using more money on Adwords.

So why can you boost organic traffic by using money on Adwords?
The factor in Google’s algorithm, you change, is the user-data. By paying your way to the first page, you can generate data to the search algorithm like: CTR, time on site, return searchers etc.

These factors might only improve little for highly competitive keywords, but for long tail keywords it isn’t uncommon to change status from unknow page, for that keyword, to first place.

Even a longtail keyword don’t generate much traffic by itself, it is easy to add thousands of keywords in Adwords and thereby rank organize for them as well.

Impact on the rest of the organization
Because it is so easy to make an impact online, we often forget that we sit on a lot of statistics and places where we can take action, to help the rest of the organization.

It is much easier to get statistics and take action with an Adwords account with many focused ad groups, compared with an account with fewer general ad groups. With focus ad groups, you can:

– What features are important for the demand
– How to get rid of a product that are stocking up
– How will a new product sell

Best practice for how many keywords you should have in each ad group
Focus to compete in AdwordsWhen you read many guide books about how to organize the structure in an Adwords account. They recommend you start with a few general ad groups and then pick special case to make focus ad groups from them.

Because of the increased competition and focused ad groups do much better, we have changed the order of doing things.

We start picking high performing keywords and built one keyword ad groups for each one. The keywords that are not chosen we can add in more general ad groups.

Its is a little more work from the beginning, but you save time later and results from day one.