How to Dramatically Boost Google AdWords Results

The single best tactic to dramatically increase your AdWords performance is by single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) – but with a twist!

What is a SKAG?

Essentially, SKAG is a strategy that puts a keyword in its own ad group.

Sounds simple enough…

So if you had ‘buy red suede shoes’ as your key phrase, you would put ‘buy red suede shoes’ as a broad, phrase and as an exact match keyword in a single ad group.

Then you would control your bids by bidding the least on your broad phrase, an extra 10-15% on your phrase and another 10-15% on your exact match keyword.

Is that it? Not quite, read on:

What’s the point?

A SKAG gives you more control over your account because the granular ad group helps with reporting and understanding what’s working and what isn’t. But more importantly, it allows you to control your message match to the user’s search, your ad copy and landing page, to ensure they’re all congruent.

A SKAG helps to:

  • increase your click-through rate (CTR)
  • which in return increases your quality score
  • reduces your cost-per-click (CPC) against your relative competition
  • help you control budget and ad delivery

SKAGs are about increasing control, increasing your CTR and reducing CPC.

That all sounds good in principle but there’s a problem.

The way you’ve been told how to build single keyword ad groups is wrong.

The True SKAG

Everyone tells you to add all the match types to a single keyword ad group – but this gives you less control over your search term, message match and CTR.

The best way to build a SKAG is to take your [exact match] keyword, put it in the ad group, and match your ad copy to that single keyword.

SKAG keyword example

Make sure your landing page suits that single keyword and matches your SKAG. Each exact match needs to be in their own ad group in their own campaign to allow you to have ultimate control over your budget and delivery.

You then apply your exact match keywords as negatives against competing (similar) keywords of other match types, as per the above example.

But the beauty of having true SKAGs (exacts on their own) is you can take all your exact matches and put them in a shared negative keyword list. Then you can apply that to all your non-exact match campaigns.

This forces your exact match keywords to be the ones that deliver the ad and you keep entire control over that situation.

Are SKAGs too complicated?

But if you’ve got hundreds of keywords that means you have to create hundreds of ad groups which is going to be a nightmare to control – right?!

Well, if you take it step-by-step and just put your top 5, 10 or 20% spending keywords into SKAGs, this strategy will work for you.

By putting exact keywords in SKAGs it actually highlights the worst performing exact match keywords which allows you to either; stop the keyword and save money or test and optimise with things like demographic tweaks and bid adjustments.

For example: just because you’ve got “buy red suede shoes” as an exact and a phrase doesn’t mean they’re going to perform the same geographically or on devices etc.

So that’s how to dramatically increase the performance of your AdWords campaign using true single keyword ad groups.

By Ed Leake

Ed Leake is a seasoned professional with decades of experience in the world of internet and advertising. He was one of the earliest adopters of domain ownership and website monetization. Ed built his first website in 1996 and has since managed over $250 million in ad spend. He is an agency owner, SaaS product owner, Ad Tech builder, PPC specialist, investor, and mentor. He has been running his agency, Midas Media, for over 13 years and acquired Adboozter in 2018. Ed also built AdEvolver, a tool to automate Google Ads accounts at scale. He uses his expertise to help businesses grow from small to large, leveraging Google Ads and Analytics, along with a significant focus on conversion optimization. Despite being a self-confessed workaholic, coffeeholic, and motorsportholic, Ed is not currently taking on new clients due to high demand.