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Using SKAGs In Google Ads

If you’re running a business in 2022 then you’re most likely using or trying to navigate Google Ads. Google Ads is a paid search platform that will see you getting quick results for your business. However, this could come at a cost if you’re not carefully organising your Google Ads account structure to maximise your budget spend.

Google Ads can be a confusing and frustrating tool to use, with specific jargon to learn, hundreds of metrics to keep track of and a structure that can quickly become a mess the more keywords, ad groups and campaigns that you add. 

Therefore it’s important to be familiar with the inner workings of your Google Ads account structure and organise it in a way that works for your business. You can use our previous article on ‘How Google Ads Work’ to familiarise yourself with the Google Ads account structure before trying any new techniques.

One of the most popular techniques to optimise your Google Ads account is implementing Single Keyword Ad Groups or SKAGs. In this article, we’ll give you an in depth look into what SKAGs are, how to create SKAGs and the ultimate benefits they’ll bring to your business. 

What’s The Problem With Your Current Account Structure?

google keyword themes

From the get go Google creates a recipe for disaster when you start creating your Google Ads account. During setup you would have gone through the usual steps of inputting your goals (call your business, visit your physical location or complete an action on your site ie. purchase a product or sign up). You then would have put in your website URL. Google then tries to help you create an ad (through using your website copy) and gives you some keywords to target according to your offering on your site.

Google’s Not Helping You, They’re Helping Themselves

Now this all seems super quick, easy and helpful but this is actually where Google uses your unfamiliarity and confusion to help benefit them and make you spend your budget quicker. Ultimately it’s a trap to start your account off on the wrong foot, with hundreds of irrelevant or broad keywords that get you clicks on your ads but less conversions (goal completions).

The problem with targeting all these keywords for one ad is that the ad won’t be relevant for every single keyword. If someone is looking for ‘logo design’ and the ad sends them to a landing page boasting search engine optimisation services, the visitor will quickly leave as this was not what they were looking for. 

Even if you were targeting similar keywords such as ‘logo design’, ‘logo design company’ and ‘logo design ideas’. These keywords are all still too broad and can mean a multitude of different things to different users. Therefore, you will still get clicks on your ad (using your budget every time there’s a click) from someone that isn’t even interested in what you’re selling. What’s more Google will lower the quality score of your ad because it isn’t relevant to most keywords targeted and therefore, your CPC (cost per click) will be higher.

So what’s the solution? A simple and streamlined organisation is your best bet at optimising your account. You can do this through implementing single keyword ad groups or SKAGs.

What Are SKAGs?

Single Keyword Ad Groups

With SKAGs it’s all in the name. SKAGs are ad groups that focus on targeting one main keyword instead of numerous different keywords (Google even suggests using 10-20 keywords in a single ad group). With this single keyword you can target its two match types, exact ([keyword]) and phrase (“keyword”) match. Exact match will show your ad only if the exact keyword is searched for, allowing no other words to feature. Phrase match will show your ad in search queries that show your keyword phrase in the right order with other words on either side allowed.

This ensures that the ad itself will be highly relevant to that keyword alone. The ad will have copy reflecting the keyword and will send users to a landing page that is relevant to that keyword. Therefore, you will most likely get less clicks on your ads, but the clicks that you do get will be from the exact people that you want clicking on your ad. 

How To Use And Create SKAGs

what are skags

When creating SKAGs it’s important to recognise that optimising your account and creating single keyword ad groups is going to be time consuming. Therefore, you want to make sure that the keywords that you’re choosing are the right keywords to target. 

If you have never run a Google Ads account before, it’s best to have broader ad groups with more keywords so you can see which keywords and which ad groups are the most successful and bring in the most conversions (remember not clicks, conversions). Once you have run these ad groups for a few months then you can start the process of creating SKAGs.

Step 1: Look At Your Search Terms

Here it’s important to find the keywords that you want to target for your SKAG. The best place to look is your search terms. These are the search terms that users searched for, that triggered your ad. Therefore you aren’t thumbsucking which keywords to use but can spot actual common keywords.

search terms report

Step 2: Find The Converting Keywords

Once you are looking at all your search terms it can be quite overwhelming to try and find the diamonds in the rough. A handy tip is to reorder your search terms by clicking on the conversions column. Here the top converting keywords will appear first. Now that you can spot the top converting keywords, choose one to create a SKAG.

Step 3: Create An Ad Group

To avoid confusion, we would suggest creating an ad group that has the exact keyword as the name and put SKAG before the name, like this ‘SKAG: Best Copywriting Company’. This way when you are reviewing your monthly progress you can quickly spot if your SKAGs are being as effective as they should be. Once you’ve named the ad group you can add the keyword match types ie. “phrase” and [exact] match. 

Step 4: Create Your Ads

Now that you’ve created a single keyword ad group it’s time to create your ads. Your main priority with your ads is to centre them around the keyword as much as possible. Add the keyword into the copy at least twice. Create multiple different headlines with the keyword and add the keyword to the URL. Create three different ads for each ad group, two expanded text ads and one responsive text ad.

Step 5: Create A Specific Landing Page

This isn’t a must-have step when creating a SKAG but it would ultimately improve your quality score and likelihood of users completing an action. The more relevant your landing page is to your keyword and ad the more likely you’ll convert and your CPC will improve. This can be highly time consuming, so you could start with your highest performing keywords and go from there. Try matching your landing page copy with the copy of your ads so users know they are getting what they searched and clicked for.

Benefits Of SKAGS

  1. Simple To Make

SKAGs are easy to make and since you won’t be adding any new keywords to each ad group you just need to focus on creating new SKAGs when potential keywords pop up in your search terms. Since they are simple to make, it also makes it easy to teach others how to replicate your work.

  1. Easy To Control

Due to the simplicity and cleanness of your account structure you are able to have good understanding and control over your ads account. SKAGs allow for optimal organisation and won’t let your account get overwhelming and confusing.

  1. Quick To Spot Budget Drains – Less Wasted Ad Spend

Since SKAGs only target one keyword it is super quick to spot which keywords may be draining your budget while not bringing in as many conversions as they should. This may be because the keyword is too broad and isn’t as relevant as you thought or maybe the landing page is missing a key element to get people converting such as a call to action (CTA). SKAGs make it quick to spot and are even quicker to pause and avoid wasting your budget on meaningless clicks. 

  1. Improved Click-Through Rates

As SKAGs are so relevant, specific and targeted, you will find that your CTR will naturally improve. This means that users are more likely to click on your ad since you contain their exact search term throughout your ad and if your CTR improves…

  1. Improved Quality Score

… So does your quality score. Google looks at three main things when it comes to giving your ad a quality score. They are ad relevance, landing page relevance and the CTR of your ad. Through using SKAGs all three of these elements will be checked in Google’s book and you will start seeing higher CTRs for your ad groups. Higher CTRs mean you’re more likely to show up in the search results and your average CPC will be lower, meaning you can use extra budget on more SKAGs!

  1. Improved Conversion Rates

By implementing SKAGs more often you’re ensuring that you are offering exactly what people are searching for and not bait and switching them with an ad that leads them to a website that isn’t what they were looking for. Therefore, you can be assured that the budget you are directing towards SKAGs is being used wisely and will more likely convert than broader ad groups.

Things To Be Aware Of When Creating SKAGs

single keyword ad groups

While single keyword ad groups have a host of benefits there are some things to keep an eye out for when creating new campaigns centred around SKAGs. These include:

  1. Duplicate Keywords

While organising your account and creating SKAGs with well performing keywords from current ad groups, it’s common to find duplicate keywords scattered throughout your account. It’s important to thoroughly inspect your account for duplicate keywords so that your keywords aren’t competing against one another and wasting your ad spend.

  1. Setup Takes Time

Creating SKAGs will save you time in the long run due to optimising your account. However, they still take time to create and the more time you spend looking for the right keywords, optimising your ads and landing pages, the better your results. Putting in the time and hardwork in the beginning will benefit you tenfold in the future and help you better understand your account.

  1. Too Specific Or Too Broad

Be careful when selecting keywords to target for SKAGs and ensure that they aren’t too specific to your offering or brand that they actually don’t get searched for. Conversely, be careful not to target keywords that are too broad and could show up in a host of different search results. This is why it’s important to test ad groups with more keywords to find the prime search terms to target. Limit the budget of a campaign that may feature a keyword that is too broad, therefore you’re not wasting your ad spend while testing.

  1. Don’t Use SKAGs In A New Ads Account

As mentioned before, don’t hop on the SKAG train before your account has a little history and you have some data to back up relevant keywords you want to target. Give a new account some time before you optimise it too much, but keep SKAGs in the back of your mind so you can look out for potential and keep your account from getting too disorganised.

Simple Tips To Optimise For SKAGs

Single Keyword Ad Group

  • Constant testing
  • Track and analyse keywords constantly
  • Add negative keywords from search terms constantly
  • Target relevant keywords every time
  • Experiment by changing ad copy and creating new ads

Have a Google Ads account and ready to optimise it to its full potential using single keyword ad groups? As we have experience with creating SKAGs within cluttered Ads accounts we know that it can be time consuming and can take a lot of effort. We love seeing a clean, clutter-free Google ads account and would love to help yours double its ROI. For more information visit our Google Ads page or book a free strategy call with us today!

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