After managing different kinds of Google Adwords campaign for the past 10 years, I’ve found that there’s no silver bullet on how to organize keywords to optimize your Google Adwords Campaign. I did came up with a few different strategies for different situations. I’ll go over these strategies one by one and you can decide for yourself how you would go about organizing your own keywords.

This post assumes that you understand Google Adwords already, you understand how campaigns, adgroups and ads are organized within Adwords. Also note that I’ll be using my 8-9 year inactive Refurbished Macs campaigns as an example, note that trademark terms in ad text have changed over the years but I’ll use my refurbished mac campaign only as an example, the rest of the strategy should still be applicable.

Starting from Scratch Campaigns

When you are creating a new google adwords campaign without any historical data on what keywords will convert, this is the scenario where you’ll be using Google Adwords to tell you what will work it’ll be a little costly at first but you’ll eventually find the right keywords for your campaign.

3 Simple Steps

  1. Keyword research
  2. Organize Your Keywords
  3. Run your campaigns

Keyword Research:

Start off with your keyword research using this post How To Do Keyword Research for Beginners Using Google Adwords.

Another important part of keyword research is negative keywords. It’s really important to find the right keywords to add to your campaigns but it’s equally important to have as many negative keywords as possible in your account. Negative keywords are keywords that will help you tell google to restrict showing your ads when undesirable keywords are part of a user’s search string. For example, if I’m selling refurbished macs, I don’t want people looking to repair their refurbished macs, so I want to make sure I have the “repair” keyword inside my negative keyword list. This will help me eliminate unwanted clicks and impressions thus increasing your click through rates which would mean improve your quality score and lower how much you pay for each click.

Organize Your Keywords:

After you have an initial list of keywords to start with, organize your keywords accordingly by grouping closely related keywords together into one adgroup. The fewer and closely related the keywords are the better too for each group.

Using my old refurbished mac campaigns, I would organize my keywords into correct adgroups this way.

Adgroup 1
Refurbished Mac
Refurbished Macs
Refurbished Apple Mac
Refurbished Apple Macs
Adgroup 2
Refurbished Macbook
Refurbished Macbooks
Refurbished Apple Macbook
Refurbished Apple Macbooks
Adgroup 3
Refurbished iMac
Refurbished iMacs
Refurbished Apple iMacs
Refurbished Apple iMacs
Adgroup 4
Used iMac
Used iMacs
Used Apple iMac
Used Apple iMacs
Adgroup 5
Refurbished Mac Pro
Refurbished Mac Pros
Refurbished Apple Mac Pro
Refurbished Apple Mac Pros

The reason you want your adgroups as tightly knit as possible is so that you can create Ad Text that are very relevant to your keywords, this way you can include the keywords inside the ad text itself. Having the keyword in your Ad Text makes your ad relevance higher which will increase your keyword quality score for each keyword you have in your adgroup. As you know we want every advantage we can employ to improve our Quality Score. The general rule of thumb is, if the keyword won’t make sense when paired with your ad text then it should be in it’s own adgroup.

Keyword Match Types

Next, let’s talk about what keyword match types you should be using. Since we are starting a campaign from scratch and most  likely or keyword list is not as comprehensive yet, we want Google to help us find the right keywords.

As a reviewer, there are a few keyword match types for google adwords, I’ll enumerate them here: 

Format Match Type and Description
[refurbished macbook] exact match keywords, whatever your keyword is it’ll match this keyword, some minor mispellings will match this keyword as well.
“refurbished mac” phrase match keywords, any keyword that has your keyword in it in the same order will be matched. “refurbished mac” will match “buy refurbished mac book”
+refurbished +mac modified broad match keywords, any keyword that has both keywords will be matched so if someone types in “buy mac refurbished from apple”
refurbished mac broad match keywords, I typically don’t use because it can be all over the place, it could match refurbished pc for all we know, it’s just way too broad.
-[refurbished macbook] negative exact, you don’t want the exact keyword
-”refurbished macbook” negative phrase, you don’t want any keyword with the phrase “refurbished macbook”
-refurbished macbook negative broad, anything that has both refurbished and macbook in it, it won’t match.

Anyways for a more detailed description of match types here’s a resource directly from Google Adwords help (Using Keyword Match Options).

What should we use after understanding what keyword match types are available to us. Given that I don’t know which keywords will convert I need to use as many keywords as possible however, I also don’t want to break my wallet by matching all sorts of keywords that might not be relevant to what I’m trying to sell. So for newer campaigns, I would start out with exact keywords, phrase keywords and modified broad keywords. I typically don’t like to include the broad match keywords because google sometimes make a mistake on matching it too broad, I’d like to start with more specific keywords first and make sure I’m able convert those keywords first before I go even broader. So here’s the modified adgroup setups with the corresponding match types.

Adgroup 1
“Refurbished Mac”
[Refurbished Mac]
+Refurbished +Mac
“Refurbished Macs”
[Refurbished Macs]
+Refurbished +Macs
“Refurbished Apple Mac”
[Refurbished Apple Mac]
+Refurbished +Apple +Mac
“Refurbished Apple Macs”
[Refurbished Apple Macs]
+Refurbished +Apple +Macs
Adgroup 2
“Refurbished Macbook”
[Refurbished Macbook]
+Refurbished +Macbook
“Refurbished Macbooks”
[Refurbished Macbooks]
+Refurbished +Macbooks
“Refurbished Apple Macbook”
[Refurbished Apple Macbook]
+Refurbished +Apple +Macbook
“Refurbished Apple Macbooks”
[Refurbished Apple Macbooks]
+Refurbished +Apple +Macbooks
Adgroup 3
“Refurbished iMac”
[Refurbished iMac]
+Refurbished +iMac
“Refurbished iMacs”
[Refurbished iMacs]
+Refurbished +iMacs
“Refurbished Apple iMacs”
[Refurbished Apple iMacs]
+Refurbished +Apple +iMacs
Adgroup 4
“Used iMac”
[Used iMac]
+Used +iMac
“Used iMacs”
[Used iMacs]
+Used +iMacs
“Used Apple iMac”
[Used Apple iMac]
+Used +Apple +iMac
“Used Apple iMacs”
[Used Apple iMacs]
+Used +Apple +iMacs
Adgroup 5
“Refurbished Mac Pro”
[Refurbished Mac Pro]
+Refurbished +Mac +Pro
“Refurbished Mac Pros”
[Refurbished Mac Pros]
+Refurbished +Mac +Pros
“Refurbished Apple Mac Pro”
[Refurbished Apple Mac Pro]
+Refurbished +Apple +Mac +Pro
“Refurbished Apple Mac Pros”
[Refurbished Apple Mac Pros]
+Refurbished +Apple +Mac +Pros

You can use this tool, I’ve created to help you do the permutations and combinations. Google Adwords Keyword Multiplier Tool

Follow Up Articles Coming Soon..

Where do you get more keywords and negative keywords

What do you do next if you know what keywords is converting and what is not.