Do you use SKAGs? Yes, SKAGs – That’s what the kids are calling single keyword ad groups these days. (Leave it to Millennials to come up with a trendy name for optimizing your ad groups!)
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As it turns out, I’m old school. I’ve been using SKAGs since before they had a name. So, I have a lot history with single keyword ad groups.
SKAGs are all the rage right now because the PPC community has figured out this is a consistently profitable strategy!
But like most things people get all worked up about – There’s a time and place for everything. So before you rush off to start breaking down your ad groups…
Let’s take a deeper look.
There’s a reason why this strategy works, and there are some shortcuts to implementing single keyword ad groups in your campaigns.
On the other hand, there are also some scenarios where this strategy can kill your AdWords account (or pronounce it DOA).
How to use single keyword ad groups (SKAGs)
To understand how single keyword ad groups work, we have to take a step back, and look at basic AdWords account structure.
An AdWords account houses all your information
In AdWords, your account identifies you with Google and controls your billing settings.
An account can have many campaigns
Within in an account, you have campaigns. The campaign level is where you control the main settings for your ads. You set things like daily budget, location targeting, language and network targeting at a campaign level.
When most people get started with AdWords, they only create one campaign for their ads. This is no bueno!
To become efficient with your ads, you want to create multiple campaigns. Running more than one campaign allows you to test your targeting settings.
A campaign should have many ad groups
Every campaign contains ad groups. And you can have multiple ad groups within a campaign. Ad groups contain your ads and your keywords.
An ad group can have many keywords
Every time someone does a google search they enter a search term, or keyword. Keywords are what trigger your ads. The closer your ads match the search, the more likely they are to display. Ads that match the search are also a better experience for the user.
The function of an ad group is to organize your keywords and ads in a tightly matched, almost one-to-one, relationship.
Healthy account structure
A tight relationship between keywords and ads is what I refer to as “healthy account structure.”
But most new advertisers don’t create this type of detailed account structure. Instead, they wind up trusting Google’s account setup process.
And, Google is more than happy to give you bad AdWords advice.
If you follow Google’s default process for setting up your account, you’ll have one campaign, one ad group, and one ad. And your single ad will be matched to about 100 generic and overpriced keywords.
Think about ads and keywords from a user perspective. Are you more likely to click on an ad that matches your Google search, or an ad that’s totally generic? I’d say that approximately 100% of the time, users prefer ads that match their search.
Google wants you to be inefficient
The AdWords set up process is dumbed down because Google wants you to get you started advertising quickly. And they benefit from you being inefficient. When you’re inefficient, you pay more for ad clicks, and Google makes more money!
Did you know that Google made $110 Billion dollars in 2017? I just looked it up today and my head exploded!
How many branches does your AdWords account have?
Think of your AdWords account like a family tree. You can have a healthy family tree that branches out wide and far.
Or, you can follow Google’s account setup process, and build a tree that only has one branch. We all know what happens to family trees with only one branch.
Tight ad groups
For years, I’ve advocated for something called “tight” ad groups. In a tight ad group, keywords and ads match closely to exactly. The tightest ad group is a one-to-one relationship between the keyword and the ad.
Single keyword ad groups
SKAGS are ad groups designed with a one-to-one relationship between the root keyword and the ad.
Let’s see what this looks like in practice. Below is brand new ad group from my Agency Course.
The root keyword for this ad is – agency course.
In my SKAG I have three variations of this keyword:
– Broad match modified
– Phrase match
– Exact match
Adding long tail keywords
To make my single keyword ad group more granular, I can build out long tail terms on my root keyword.
Adding the word online gives me another variation of my root keyword.
As you get more granular with your ad groups, you can have 50 to 100’s of variations of your root keyword in your skag.