Apples to Apples: How To Build an Effective PPC Campaign Structure

Cow. Sheep. Barn
Apple. Orange. Carrot.
Can you find the item that doesn’t belong here?
From the earliest stages of learning we are taught how to group objects and words by meaning and similarity. However, some advertisers lose this fundamental logic when building their PPC campaigns. Building your PPC campaigns in the correct structure is essential to the success of your advertising. The cost of improper keyword structure can be detrimental to your campaign and hard to recover from.

Some of the pitfalls of poor campaign grouping are:

  • Low quality scores
  • Higher keyword CPC
  • Lower ranking on search engine results pages

Unfortunately, these pitfalls totally defeat the way a successful campaign should operate.
Often, advertisers think it’s extremely difficult to structure a PPC campaign correctly. It’s not! If you employ the grouping tactics you learned back in grade school, you’ll see that grouping keywords in a PPC campaign is just as easy as grouping shapes, animals, and foods. Think topically when deciding how to build your campaigns and ad groups.

Here’s an example of effective grouping:

  • Campaign > Seattle Attractions
  • Ad Group > Seattle Space Needle
  • Keywords > Hotels near Seattle Space Needle, Seattle Space Needle Hotels, Space Needle Hotels Seattle

As you can see, this grouping of keywords is structured so that the overlying theme of the campaign is attractions in the Seattle area. Since you’re building campaigns for a hotel, you will want to be careful about bidding on keywords not containing the word “hotel.” For instance, you could bid on “Seattle Space Needle” and gain plenty of impressions; however, it is likely that you won’t receive a large volume of clicks, thus resulting in a low click-through rate and even lower quality score. Even if you received a high number of clicks, the traffic you’d get would be low quality and result in low conversion rates. You can also see that the ad group theme is Seattle Space Needle and the keywords stick closely to this theme.

Here is an example of bad keyword structure for the same campaign and ad group:

  • Ad Group > Seattle Space Needle
  • Keywords > Hotels near Seattle Space Needle, Hotel near downtown Seattle Center, Seattle restaurants near space needle

The keywords in this ad group focus on the Seattle Space Needle, but really aren’t relevant to each other. One keyword references restaurants, while the other two reference hotels.  Google will read this grouping as poor relevancy, and thus will reward you with one of the pitfalls of poor ad group structure–definitely not the type of reward you’d like to see.
We’ll discuss keyword selection and more in future posts. If you still aren’t sure that you will master the art of building a PPC campaign, visit Google’s AdWords Help Center to learn more. Once you’ve learned how to set up your PPC campaign, you’re on the road to pay-per-click success!

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