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Use This Google AdWords Hack to Lower Costs and Increase Leads Single Keyword Ad Groups (or SKAGs) are a beautiful thing and can drastically help improve your AdWords performance.

By Jason Parks Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You might have heard a digital marketing guru throw the acronym "SKAG" out on the table but you were unsure of what it meant.

If you go to urban dictionary, it states that a skag is an unattractive woman. That is not what we're referring to here. Single Keyword Ad Groups (or SKAGs) are a beautiful thing and can drastically help improve your AdWords performance.

Single Keyword Ad Groups are just what the name implies. They are ad groups with just one keyword in them.

Per KlientBoost, SKAGs are one of the strongest AdWords account structures. Neil Patel, a fellow Entrepreneur.com contributor and expert marketer, wrote that, "I Increased Sales When I Made this One Google AdWords Change," which of course refers to Single Keyword Ad Groups. Sam Owen from PPC Hero reduced his cost per lead by 50 percent and increased leads by 106 percent when implementing SKAGs.

Here's how Single Keyword Ad Groups can be a game changer for your business.

How it works

The premise is simple: Rather than grouping 15 keywords with two to three different variations of advertising copy, you associate a single variation of keywords to a single advertisement, where the title of the ad copy matches your keyword exactly. So, when searching for any of your potential keywords on Google, the ad text will match exactly what was searched for. This will increase your relevance score (don't worry, I explain relevance score below) and will, in turn, help you to achieve a lower cost per conversion.

Not only that, with a SKAG, you will be better able to control the budget for the keywords that are profitable within the campaign because you can easily make changes and adjust the budgets for each ad group.

Let's say you are selling custom leather wallets. There are a lot of different ways someone can search for your product. By aligning your ad copy with one keyword, your relevance score will improve because the text in the ad matches the search term exactly. (If you are wondering why there are three keywords listed below, the reason is because these are broad match modifier, phrase match and exact match.)

You'll notice "Custom Leather Wallets" is included in the title of the advertising copy, which should increase click-through rate when people see an advertisement that includes the exact search term for what they are looking for.

Custom +Leather +Wallets
"Custom Leather Wallets"
[Custom Leather Wallets]

Ad copy

If you knew that you converted well for "Leather Wallets Made in USA" you'd want to create a Single Keyword Ad Group campaign in the following format:

Leather +Wallets +Made +in +USA
"Leather Wallets Made in USA"
[Leather Wallets Made in U.S.A]

Ad copy

Let's say you have a campaign which includes several SKAGs related to the fact that the wallets are custom-made. If one of those keywords is eating up a lot of your budget but not converting well, you can easily pause that ad group. Conversely, if you have a keyword that's performing extremely well, you can also adjust your budget accordingly.

Getting started

For Larry's Leather (a fictitious business I made up for this article) there are thousands of variations that someone can search for to find his wallets. For starters, I recommend setting-up five Single Keyword Ad Groups to see if you notice a difference in click-through rate and quality score.

There will come a time when you will be adding thousands of different keywords and ad copy variations utilizing Single Keyword Ad Groups, which is more complex.

If you are bidding on hundreds or thousands of different products and are looking for an advanced Single Keyword Ad Group strategy, I'd recommend reaching out to a PPC firm that can help in this area. Google has many partners where you can find a good company.

Importance of Quality Score

Any AdWords expert knows that your Quality Score is crucial for generating great results in AdWords.

Per WordStream, Quality Score is Google's rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. A high quality score will result in a higher click-through rate and a lower cost per conversion. There are several factors that impact quality score:

  • Click-through rate
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Relevance of ad text
  • Historical AdWords account performance

Single Keyword Ad Groups will help you increase your click-through rate, relevancy of each keyword and relevancy of the ad text. This can be a game changer in improving your PPC performance.

Jason Parks

CEO of The Media Captain

Jason Parks is a proud native of Columbus, Ohio, and the founder/CEO of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency. He has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News, Search Engine Watch and AOL on digital-marketing topics and success stories.

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