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Tips for Organizing Ad Groups in Google AdWords to Boost Click-Through Rate


“Bryan, how do you structure your ad groups for maximum results” is one of the most frequent questions I get asked when consulting with marketers who want to get started with Google AdWords and PPC marketing without losing their shirts.

If you want to maximize your profits from promoting products through Google’s AdWords search network, read this piece for a detailed breakdown of the process and a model for organizing your ad groups and campaigns.

Identifying the Type of Match First

You can use one of three “match types” to select keywords in Google AdWords. There are three types of search: “broad,” “phrase,” and “exact.” Google prefers tightly themed campaigns and ad groups; each matched category has a corresponding negative counterpart.

It may seem difficult to understand how AdWords differentiates between these match types and how it decides which user query initiates which keyword match type in your campaigns. But in fact, it’s not. Hearing it from the horse’s mouth is the finest way to learn the ropes. The AdWords Help Center is where Google explains everything in detail, so I advise you to check it out.

Phase 2: Speedy Keyword Exploration

This article isn’t meant to instruct you on conducting topic research; there’s a separate piece. (perhaps even 5 or 6 more). But I want to show you how to construct a strategy with known conversion keywords.

I run a series of processes to determine which keywords will deliver you the highest quality, most targeted visitors in the shortest time. Spy sites are one method for discovering the terms used by competing advertising efforts. Keyword Spy is one of my preferred keyword spy programs. There is both a free and premium edition. Upgrade to the paid version if you intend to take your PPC company seriously.

You can quickly compile a list of your field’s top 50-100 keywords using Keyword Spy. I’ll explain this concerning the golfing subculture. So, let’s assume you’ve decided to promote an eBook as an affiliate and launch a campaign. Your initial strategy should focus on the top 10–20 keyword groups. Let’s use the grouping “fix golf swing” as an example. One ad group per keyword set per match type would be the most tightly themed and efficient way to build a campaign.

Sequences of Keywords

A keyword set is a group of 10-20 phrases that work together. As such, ten related terms might be developed around “fix golf swing.”

You can Google “fix golf swing,” “fix my golf swing,” “how to fix golf swing,” “fix golf swing tips,” “golf swing fixed,” “fix swing for golf,” “fix golf game swing,” and countless other variations.

These terms revolve around some version of “fixed golf swing,” as shown in the list above. This is the kind of well-organized, topical ad group that Google loves to see in action within an advertising campaign.

Ad Group 1 Example: Golf Swing Repair (exact)

The first ad group you create will have this name, and it will contain the keywords that are an identical match to those in the sample keyword set we provided up top. Put this into the ad group’s keyword list field as a result:

Modify Your Golf Swing

My golf stroke needs work.

[golf stroke correction]

[improve your golf stroke]


The phrase “fix golf swing” perfectly matches this phrase. That settles the matter. After that, make at least two different ads to use in that ad category. You should use the ubiquitous keyword in the text of your advertisements. Of course, you should also use a tracking script and the provided landing page URL to see if the ad group’s targeted terms led to any conversions.

So far, you have one ad group created, two particular advertisements crafted for that ad group, and tracking URLs established for each keyword.

Ad Group 2: Let’s Repair That Golf Swing (pm -em)

The meaning of the preceding is essentially phrase match, precise negative game. That’s also how we’ll organize this particular advertising cohort. That’s logical. Examples of possible keyword choices for this ad category are:

The “golf swing fix.”

Please adjust my golf stroke.

“Golf swing correction”

“Improve Your Golf Swing”

Improve Your Golf Swing

Please help me with my golf stroke!

Fixing Your Golf Swing:

[Improve Your Golf Swing]

Here, you’ll create an ad group using only the phrase match keywords from the sample keyword collection we provided up top and the negative exact match keyword. This tells AdWords that the keywords in this ad group should only be triggered if the user performs a phrase match variation of a keyword in this ad group and should not be triggered at all if the user performs a precise search of any of these keywords.

If they type in your desired keyword phrase, you want your exact match ad group to be triggered. If the user enters a search that includes a phrase match variation, you want your phrase match ad activated instead of your same match ad. This separates the traffic and prevents Google from triggering your advertisements twice. This is crucial if you want Google to adore your campaign and boost your quality score and click-through rate.

I get it…

If you’re thinking, “man, this seems like a real pain,” right now, you’re not alone. Suppose you follow a specific plan and use the right resources. It is if you’re doing it by hand, but otherwise, no. However, if you want to maximize the success of your PPC strategy, you shouldn’t cut corners. AdWords will reward you more if you set up your ad groups and campaigns in this manner, which is how Google prefers that you do it.

After nearly five years in the industry, thousands of dollars in testing, and countless hours of hard work and data collection, I have yet to come across a more effective method for organizing AdWords ads. I guarantee you’ll be rewarded if you put in the additional effort.

Generalized Search Terms

Some may be asking why I haven’t mentioned broad match yet. This is because wide rounds should never be used at the outset of a campaign. If you ignore the comprehensive game for now, you will see a dramatic increase in conversions and revenue.

Setting up your ad groups in this manner requires a well-thought-out strategy, and using broad match effectively requires an almost scientific approach. My “Affiliate Lab Formula 2.0” system outlines the full methodology and plan for running successful affiliate marketing campaigns on Google AdWords. Learn the exact strategy that has helped one affiliate marketer earn four figures per year with AdWords/PPC by setting up and managing campaigns with an almost 90% success rate. (meaning the campaign ends up profitable).


With this method, you can rapidly create highly successful AdWords ads. Adopting this strategy into your AdWords campaigns instantly will yield fantastic (almost unbelievable) outcomes. I hope you’ve gotten a lot out of this piece on organizing your ad groups to maximize profits and that you’ll start putting the advice in it to use immediately.

Bryan McConnahea, an affiliate marketer and AdWords expert with 22 years of experience, has been trying and revealing cutting-edge strategies to help others earn more money online for nearly five years. You’ll love the excellent resources he gives away to his “VIP Marketers” subscribers list if you like this AdWords strategy piece.

Join his list of raving fans and get access to his entire “Affiliate Labs Formula 1.0” method at no cost by clicking here:

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