Scalewave Marketing

How Many Keywords Should You Use in a Google Ads Campaign?

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Search Campaigns

Search campaigns are the most common type of Google Ads campaign. They are involved in displaying text ads on the Google search results page. Here’s a breakdown of keyword counts for different sizes of search campaigns:

Small Campaigns: Starting with 10-20 highly-targeted keywords is effective for local businesses or niche markets. This limited number allows for precise targeting, ensuring the ads are shown to a highly relevant audience. Local businesses, in particular, benefit from this focused approach as it helps them reach potential customers within a specific geographic area. Niche markets can maximize their impact by concentrating on the most relevant search terms.

Medium Campaigns: Expanding to 20-50 keywords can broaden your reach. This range suits businesses seeking to capture a wider audience while maintaining budget and ad relevance control. By including more keywords, you can cover a broader spectrum of search queries, increasing the chances of reaching potential customers. To maintain ad quality, ensuring that all keywords are highly relevant to your products or services is essential.

Large Campaigns: Using 50-100 keywords can benefit larger businesses. This approach allows for extensive coverage of various search terms that potential customers might use. However, ensuring that all keywords are highly relevant to your ads and landing pages is crucial. Large campaigns often have bigger budgets, enabling them to support a more comprehensive array of keywords without diluting the effectiveness of the ads.

Display Campaigns

Display campaigns involve showing visual ads across Google’s Display Network, which includes millions of websites, apps, and videos. The keyword strategy for display campaigns is different from search campaigns:

  • Broad Targeting: Display campaigns benefit from broader targeting. Using 5-10 keywords with demographic and interest targeting can be more effective. This approach helps reach a broader audience that fits specific demographic profiles or interests, even if they are not actively searching for your product or service. Display campaigns are excellent for raising brand awareness and retargeting previous website visitors.
  • Focus on Context: In display campaigns, keywords help place ads on relevant websites and content. By selecting a few high-quality keywords, you can ensure that your ads appear in contexts that are more likely to attract the attention of potential customers. This strategy increases the chances of engagement and conversion.

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping campaigns are designed for e-commerce businesses to promote their products through visual shopping ads. The keyword strategy here can vary widely:

  • Product-Specific Keywords: Focus on product-specific keywords directly related to your selling items. These keywords should be detailed and descriptive, helping to match your ads with relevant search queries. For example, instead of just using “shoes,” a more effective keyword would be “women’s running shoes size 8.”
  • Automated Targeting: Google’s automated targeting in shopping campaigns can help refine your audience. By leveraging Google’s machine learning capabilities, you can allow the platform to optimize which products are shown to which users based on past performance data. This approach can help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your shopping ads.
  • Flexible Counts: The number of keywords in shopping campaigns can vary. Since shopping campaigns are more about product data and feed optimization, ensure your product titles and descriptions are well-optimized with relevant keywords. The focus should be ensuring your product information is accurate and appealing to searchers.

Balancing Quantity and Quality

While including as many keywords as possible might be tempting, quality should always be prioritized over quantity. Here are some tips for maintaining this balance:

  • Relevance: Ensure all keywords are relevant to your ad content and landing page. Irrelevant keywords can lower your Quality Score and waste your budget.
  • Match Types: Use a mix of broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords to control how closely search queries must match your keywords.
  • Negative Keywords: Implement negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches, saving money and improving ad performance.
Keyword Research Process

Keyword Research and Selection Process

Effective keyword research is crucial for determining the right number of keywords for your campaign. Follow these steps for successful keyword selection:

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Before selecting keywords, clearly define your campaign goals. Are you aiming for brand awareness, lead generation, or direct sales? Your goals will guide your keyword strategy.

For instance, if your goal is brand awareness, you might focus on broader keywords that reach a larger audience. If your goal is lead generation, you might choose more specific, long-tail keywords that attract qualified leads.

Targeting transactional keywords that indicate purchase intent would be more effective for direct sales.

Step 2: Generate Keyword Ideas

Start by brainstorming a list of keywords related to your products or services. Consider these sources for ideas:

  • Customer Feedback: Review inquiries and feedback for standard terms and phrases. This direct input from your audience can reveal the exact language they use when searching for your products or services.
  • Competitor Analysis: Analyze the keywords your competitors are targeting. Tools like SEMrush or SpyFu can provide insights into your competitors’ keyword strategies, helping you identify gaps and opportunities.
  • Industry Trends: Stay updated on trends and jargon in your industry. Following industry blogs, news sites, and forums can help you spot emerging keywords and evolving terminology you should consider.

Step 3: Use Keyword Research Tools

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to expand your list and gather search volume, competition, and cost-per-click (CPC) data. These tools provide invaluable insights that help you prioritize keywords based on their potential impact. Focus on keywords with:

  • High Search Volume: Indicates potential for more traffic. High search volume keywords can drive significant traffic to your site, but they often come with higher competition.
  • Low to Medium Competition: Easier to rank for without a high CPC. These keywords balance search volume and competition, making them cost-effective options for your campaign.
  • Relevance to Your Offerings: Ensure alignment with your products or services. Even if a keyword has high search volume and low competition, it won’t be effective if it doesn’t relate directly to your offering.

Step 4: Refine Your List

Narrow down your list by eliminating irrelevant or overly competitive keywords. Focus on a manageable number that aligns with your campaign type and goals. This step is about quality over quantity. Use the following criteria to refine your list:

  • Relevance: Remove any keywords not directly related to your products or services. Irrelevant keywords can attract the wrong audience, leading to low-quality traffic and wasted budget.
  • Search Intent: Consider the intent behind the keywords. Are users looking for information, or are they ready to buy? Choose keywords that match the intent of your campaign.
  • Performance Potential: Use historical performance data to assess each keyword’s potential success. Prioritize keywords that have previously driven conversions or high engagement.
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Don’t overlook long-tail keywords. These longer, more specific phrases typically have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates, as they often indicate stronger purchase intent.

Following these steps, you can create a focused and effective keyword list that maximizes your campaign’s reach and efficiency. Regularly revisiting and refining your keyword strategy will ensure that your campaigns continue to perform well and adapt to changes in search behavior and market trends.

Man on Google Ads

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Keyword Strategy

Keyword strategy requires continuous monitoring and adjustment for optimal performance. Here are best practices for ongoing optimization:

Track Campaign Performance Metrics

Regularly reviewing key performance metrics is essential for optimizing your keyword strategy. Here are the main metrics to monitor:

Click-Through Rate (CTR)Measures the effectiveness of your ad copy and keyword relevance.
Conversion RateIndicates how well your keywords drive valuable actions, such as purchases or sign-ups.
Quality ScoreA higher Quality Score leads to better ad placements and lower cost-per-click (CPC).

Tracking these metrics allows you to understand how well your keywords are performing and where there might be room for improvement. Regularly analyzing CTR can gauge whether your ad copy resonates with your audience and drives clicks.

Monitoring the conversion rate helps determine the effectiveness of your keywords in driving valuable actions such as purchases or sign-ups. Keeping an eye on your Quality Score ensures that your keywords and ads are relevant and helpful to users, which can lead to better ad placements and lower costs.

Optimize Underperforming Keywords

Identify keywords that are not performing well and make adjustments. This ongoing process starts just a few days after your campaign starts getting clicks. Keeping a close eye on your metrics is extremely important to the success of your overall campaign.

Here are some actions to continuously consider:

  • Pause or Remove: Pause or remove keywords with low CTR, high CPC, or low conversion rates.
  • Refine Match Types: Adjust match types to target search queries better.
  • Expand Negative Keywords: Add more negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic.

Wasted ad spending is one of the biggest struggles with Google Ads management, and high-cost, low-performance keywords are the biggest culprit.

Expand Successful Keywords

For high-performing keywords, consider:

  • Increasing Budget: Allocate more budget to these keywords.
  • Expanding Variations: Add variations to capture more traffic.
  • Creating New Ad Groups: Group similar keywords into new ad groups for more targeted ad copy and landing pages.

Why Too Many Keywords Can Be Detrimental

Using too many keywords can lead to several issues:

1. Budget Constraints

A limited daily budget spread across too many keywords can dilute the effectiveness of your campaign. For example, if your budget is $40 per day and you target 50 keywords, each keyword gets a minimal share, potentially resulting in fewer clicks and lower overall performance.

2. Ad Performance

Exceeding your daily budget can cause your campaigns to stop running early, missing out on prime traffic opportunities. High-performing keywords might not have the budget to maximize their potential, leading to lost conversions and reduced campaign effectiveness.

3. Difficulty Identifying Underperforming Keywords

Managing many keywords makes it challenging to identify and eliminate underperforming ones. This can result in a wasted budget on ineffective keywords, reducing the overall efficiency of your campaign.

4. Increased Management Effort

More keywords mean more time and effort needed for management. Monitoring and optimizing a large set of keywords can be overwhelming, diverting resources from other important tasks.

How to Find the Right Number of Keywords

To find the optimal number of keywords for your ad groups, focus on quality rather than quantity. Here are two strategies:

Focus on Quality over Quantity

Identify high-quality, relevant keywords that are most likely to drive valuable traffic. Use long-tail keywords (three or more words) that are specific and less competitive, reducing CPC and attracting more qualified leads.

Tailor Keywords to Each Campaign

Each campaign is unique. Don’t assume the same keywords will work for all campaigns. Adjust the number of keywords based on each campaign’s specific goals and target audience, focusing on relevance and quality.

Need Help Finding the Right Number of Keywords to Use on Google Adwords?

Determining the right number of keywords for your Google Ads campaign involves balancing quantity and quality. Start with a focused list of highly relevant keywords and gradually expand based on performance data. Monitor and adjust your strategy to optimize for better performance and higher ROI.

Remember, the key to success in Google Ads lies in choosing the right keywords that align with your business goals and audience needs. With careful planning and ongoing optimization, you can maximize the effectiveness of your Google Ads campaigns and achieve meaningful results for your business.

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