Google AdWords: Tightly Themed Ad Groups Explained!

- January 17, 2011

If you’ve spent any time on Google’s help center for AdWords, you’ve come across the phrase, “tightly themed ad groups” at almost every turn.  Well maybe not every turn, but it’s peppered throughout any article, blog post, video, or forum that has anything to do with optimizing your AdWords campaigns. 

At almost every turn, Google implores you to construct your campaigns with the aforementioned “tightly themed ad groups” that contain a “few” keywords that are closely related to each other.   Unfortunately, you won’t come across any definitions for a “tightly themed ad group”.  So what is a “tightly themed ad group”, why is it important and how does it apply to your search marketing efforts?

Let’s start with a quick explanation of Quality Score, and a simple breakdown and explanation of how Google AdWords Accounts are structured:

Quality Score:  Simply put, the more often your ad gets clicked, the higher your quality score and the less you have to pay for your bid position. (There are a couple of other factors to Quality Score, but click through rate is the most important.)

AdWords account structure:

AdWords Account:  One account per company containing all of your campaigns, payment and billing information.

Campaigns: Up to 50 campaigns per account.  Targeting, ad delivery method, bid types, budgets and effective date ranges are controlled by the campaign.

Ad Groups: Up to 100 ad groups per campaign.  Ad groups are a collection of keywords that will trigger your ads; the amount you are willing to pay per click; the ads that will display when those keywords are used and the landing page on your website which will be displayed after your ad is clicked.

After digesting the above breakdown and reviewing the screen shot below of a Google search for “running shoes”; you may start to see the importance of ad groups that are organized with a few relevant keywords in each:  Ads should reflect the keywords that are being used. 


Got it yet?  No?  Remember Quality Score from above?  Let me break it down:  Take the keywords that you are targeting in the ad group and use them in your ad copy for that ad group.  When you do, the keyword used in the Google search will be bold in your ads on the Google results page.  The bold words will stand out.  Searchers will be drawn to the bold words in your ads and more likely to click on your ads as the bold text appears to be more relevant.  Your click-through-rate will increase; your quality score will increase and — most importantly — your cost-per-click will decrease and you will get more clicks for your budget!  Isn’t that easy? 

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