How Many Keywords Should Be In An AdGroup?

There has been and probably will continue to be an ongoing debate surrounding  this question: How many keywords should be included in a single ad group? 

I’ve heard some folks say 5-10 keywords per ad group.

I’ve heard others claim that you should include only one keyword per ad group

Microsoft just recently stated that there should only be 20 keywords max in an ad group to keep the ad relevant.

The reality is this: the number of keywords that belong in any individual ad group should be based on how many keywords your ad copy describes. As quality score becomes more and more important, it is better to have more specific ad copy than more general ad copy. Essentially, this is to say, there isn’t a magic number of keywords per ad group.

Here is a best practice that I often try to follow when segmenting out keywords into specific ad groups:

  • I try to write a very specific ad, so specific in fact, that if someone reads the ad they can only assume the advertiser does this one service or sells this one product.
  • Next, I look at the keywords in the ad group. Does the ad copy accurately describe the keywords? If the answer is yes, the keyword is in the correct place. If the answer is no, then I move the keyword in another ad group or create another ad group entirely.

Here are a few additional tips to segment your ad copy / keyword organization.

  • Consider your audience. What scenario is happening in their life that would cause them to do type in that particular keyword search.
  • You may have a few general ad copies at the end of your organization. You should end with these ad groups (sort of your left over keywords) and not start there.
  • Start with your most specific keywords. Write targeted ads for these specific keywords. Then you can go more general with words that do not fit into those other specific ad groups.

If you do the hard part of organizing your ad groups correctly, then there is no magic rule of thumb for how many keywords should be in an ad group. The number is what makes logical sense. You may have ad groups with only one keyword. You may have some with two thousand keywords. Don’t worry about the number if the account if organized correctly.

This is the most time consuming part of PPC; however, it will give you the best chance of long term success.

Please note: The info in this post only concerns ad group organization for adCenter, AdWords, or YSM as it relates to search.


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