Relevancy. It’s all you hear Google talk about. And it’s everything when it comes to creating and managing your Google Ads (formerly called Google AdWords) account.

Google Ads consistently makes updates to their ad platform to ensure they deliver the highest quality ads to the right audience. One of the most important measures implemented years ago was Quality Score, which ultimately determines how much you pay per click and your Ad Rank. Read Google’s help section for detailed description of Quality Score.

Your account structure and keyword grouping are essential factors in building effective and profitable PPC (pay per click) campaigns with high Quality Scores. In order to achieve high Quality Scores, advertisers should group their keywords into tightly themed and well-organized ad groups with highly targeted ads that point to relevant landing pages. Create as many small, highly themed ad groups as necessary. I aim for groups with no more than 50 to 100 keywords, but smaller groups of 20 or less are often more ideal for certain accounts.

Categorizing keywords into themed groups may seem daunting. You can research free and/or paid tools by Googling “keyword grouping tools”, but why not do it yourself within an Excel spreadsheet?

1) Start by compiling a complete keyword list. Next, use a free word frequency counter such as WriteWords to help find keyword themes by pasting your list of keywords in the box and clicking submit. Your results should show how often specific phrases appear in your keywords, and looks something like this:

2) Using those keyword themes as a guide, head into Excel and utilize the “Filter” command to build out your campaigns and ad groups.  You don’t have to be an Excel Pro to do some quick and basic filtering. Start with three columns: Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword. Paste your keywords into the Keyword column and then select the Data tab and click Filter.

Next, click the arrow at the top of your Keywords column:

Once you click the arrow a filter menu will appear where you can type your keyword theme. Once you have done that, click OK you will only see the rows that contain that phrase, in this example I used “digital marketing” as my phrase filter:

From here you can type “Digital Marketing” in cell B2 under Ad Group, then copy and past cell B2 to the other cells. Repeat these same steps for each keyword theme.

Advanced Excel users will be interested in Moz’s Advanced Guide to Keyword Clustering post.

What if you need to restructure an existing account that may have grouped unrelated keywords in a single ad group? Typically you’ll find that a handful of keywords in any ad group generates the most clicks, leads and/or transactions. I usually leave a top converting keyword in their own existing ad group, opting instead to move all other lower volume keywords into new ad groups. A note, per Google: “breaking keywords into new ad groups or campaigns (without changing the ad text or landing page) has no effect on their Quality Score. But moving a keyword to a new ad group that has new ad text could change your Quality Score, because that can affect user experience.”

More relevant keyword groups can result in higher click through rates and lower cost per click – so get in there and restructure and optimize! Always remember, optimization isn’t a one time thing – you must constantly monitor Quality Score and performance metrics for new areas in need of further optimization.

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