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Hitting The AdWords Limits

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Recently, a number of AdWords campaigns I’m working have been sailing very close to the limits of what Google will permit in a single AdWords account.

Anyone who is a subscriber to the ‘long tail‘ principal will know that generating variations and combinations of keywords is good practice to find lots of niche little terms that will build a strong click through rate, a lower cost per click and help you beat your competitors with a stick.

If you’ve read my free AdWords paper, or taken part in one of my online consultations, you’ll also know that a well-structured account improves your quality score and reduces your cost-per click.

Given these two principals, it’s usual practice therefore to create an ad group for ‘widgets’ and then variations of that ad group for additional qualifying keywords like ‘best widgets’, ‘cheapest widgets’, ‘cheap widgets’, ‘small widgets’, and further still for ‘cheap big widgets’ and so forth. Obviously, this strategy leads to thousands of potential combinations of keywords and ad groups.

So, here we are with our tens of thousands of keywords and hundreds of ad groups – and we’re stuck. An AdWords account can’t take them all. For reference, the advised limits are 3,000 keywords in any one ad group, 100 ad groups per campaign, and 50,000 keywords per account. If you want more than that, you’ll need more than one account.

However, if you want to keep just one account to make it easier to manage, Google suggests that they match broad terms on singular and plural – so there’s no need to bid on ‘widget’ and ‘widgets’. Really? I’m not buying that at all. The whole system is based on relevance, and some plurals invite a whole different kind of traffic, producing better (or worse) click through rates than their singular counterparts.

Following on from that little gem, how about other variations of a word? Does bidding on cheap, also mean that you’re bidding on ‘cheaper’ and ‘cheapest’? Google declined to answer that one.

But know this: if you do bid on the variations, they’ll generate different results. Some better, some worse, but different.

My advice? If you’re near those account limits, bid on singular and plurals of your core keywords and perhaps keep the qualifiers down to singular only and expand on those that generate impressions.

Another little gem popped up in my conversation with Google too – one I’ve not seen officially published anywhere: having lots of keywords that generate no impressions has a negative impact on your campaign. Logical? No. True? Perhaps. But it’s difficult to find out what doesn’t generate impressions or clicks until you try, right?

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