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Paid Search Success Includes Tight PPC Ad Groups


Tight PPC Ad Groups A Key Factor in Paid Search Success

When building-out or optimizaing your PPC Ad Groups, whether it is at Google, Yahoo, MSN, or any other PPC engine, one of the unanimous tactics amongst the top PPC professionals is to have what is referred to as “tight” Ad Groups to aid in your paid search success.

An over-simplified understanding of the workings of keywords and ad triggers inside PPC ad groups will help you further understand why it’s important to have a “tight” ad group.¬† First, your ad group contains keywords that trigger and then displays an associated ad from within that ad group when someone searches on a keyword that you’re bidding on. If they click on the ad, they are then taken to your landing page. Your ad is hopefully highly relevant to the keyword or phrase being searched and thus with your excellent PPC ad copy and high relevancy it entices the search engine user to click on your ad and then ideally they convert on your landing page for whatever you page goal is.


Needless to say, the more relevant your display ad copy is, the higher the chance the user will click on it. If you are searching for Hotels in Connecticut, and an ad for a Hotel in California is displayed, the likelihood of you clicking on that ad would be very slim – it’s not what you are looking for and would be even less appealing especially if the other ads on the page are for in fact Hotels in Connecticut. Another scenario is that your ad is somewhat relevant to the search thus enticing people to click on it, but it doesn’t convert well because the landing page associated with the ad (only 1 landing page per ad unless you are testing the landing page via AB or multivariate) isn’t as relevant for certain keywords and therefore costing you for the unproductive click and therefore driving up your costs.

Tight Ad Groups Explained

So what is meant by a “tight” ad group is to have an ad group that contains only keywords that are extremely similar. This enables you to create display ads that are highly targeted for those keywords which will then be shown when someone does a search and the results are displayed. With extremely similar keywords, and highly relevant ads, you are then able to create a highly relevant landing page to both the keywords and the ads ensuring a much higher rate of conversion success due to relevancy all the way through.

If the ad group is not tight, you will either then have generic display ads that appeal to all of the keywords, or ads that are relevant for only some of the keywords and therefore not highly relevant to the others keywords; and the same goes for the landing page your PPC display ad links too. In each of these situations, the performance will be less than desirable.

Managing Tight Ad Groups

Another benefit of tight ad groups is the ability to more easily determine the success or lack of success of individual keywords because you know that the ads and landing pages are more relevant to all of the keywords in that ad group. Or, if the keywords or phrases are not performing well, you can test the ad copy or landing pages and know that the traffic for those terms are similar in the sense that they are searching out similar terms.

In an ad group that isn’t “tight”, it’s harder to determine if it’s the keywords, the ads, or the landing pages underperforming in the sense that testing any of them may reverse performance of others within that ad group – i.e. changing the ad copy in an ad group where the keywords are extremely similar may result in some of the good performing terms to underperform, while the previously underperforming terms start to perform. In reality, many unwanted situations could occur, whereas this is the simplest problematic scenario easily avoided by keeping your ad groups “tight”.

In Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to create lots of ad groups if needed to keep them highly targeted. Sure it’s easier upfront to set-up only a few ad groups and stuff them with lots of keywords so that you ¬†only have to manage a few ads and a few landing pages. But in the long run, it’s not so easy or beneficial, their overall performance will suffer (or underperform) and your costs could go up (and very likely your conversions will go down). Not to mention that it makes testing your ads, landing pages, etc. much harder and less reliable.

Categories : Paid Search - PPC

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