Digital Marketing

June 10, 2024

How Many Keywords per Ad Group for Best Results

Discover the ideal number of keywords per ad group in Google Ads. Learn best practices for keyword selection, effective research techniques, and optimization tips to boost your campaign performance.


Keyword selection plays an important role in the success of Google Ads campaigns, directly impacting ad performance and return on investment. This article will delve into the importance of determining the optimal keyword count per ad group, providing insights and best practices to help you maximize the effectiveness of your Google Ads efforts.

Keywords to Google Ads
Keywords to Google Ads


  1. Understanding Ad Groups in Google Ads
  2. Ideal Number of Keywords per Ad Group
  3. Factors Influencing Keyword Count
  4. Conducting Effective Keyword Research
  5. Structuring Ad Groups for Optimal Performance
  6. Monitoring and Optimizing Keyword Performance
  7. Common Mistakes to Avoid

1.Understanding Ad Groups in Google Ads

Ad groups are a fundamental component of Google Ads strategy for its campaign and structure, allowing advertisers to organize their keywords and ads around specific themes or products. Each ad group contains a set of related keywords that trigger relevant ads when users search for those terms. The proper organization and management of ad groups are essential for delivering targeted, high-performing ads that resonate with your target audience.

Ideal Number of Keywords per Ad Group

While Google allows up to 20,000 target items per ad group, it is generally recommended to keep the keyword count between 5 and 20 per ad group. This range strikes a balance between keyword relevance and manageability, enabling you to create tightly themed ad groups that deliver highly targeted ads.

How to decide the group numbers of Google Ads
How to decide the group numbers of Google Ads

For instance, let's consider an ad group for a company selling organic skincare products. Instead of including a wide array of keywords like "skincare," "organic beauty," and "anti-aging cream," it would be more effective to create separate ad groups for each product category. An ad group focused on "organic face serum" could include keywords like "best organic face serum," "natural face serum," and "organic vitamin C serum." This targeted approach ensures that the ads shown are highly relevant to the user's search query, increasing the likelihood of a click and conversion.

By maintaining a focused keyword list, you can ensure that your ads are tailored to specific user intent and search queries, improving click-through rates and conversions. Additionally, a manageable number of keywords per ad group makes it easier to monitor performance, identify opportunities for optimization, and make data-driven adjustments to your campaign.

Factors Influencing Keyword Count

When determining the ideal keyword count for your ad groups, several factors come into play. Keyword relevance is a critical consideration, as you want to ensure that your chosen keywords align closely with your ad copy and landing pages. This alignment helps maintain a high Quality Score, which can lead to better ad rankings and lower costs per click.

For example, a software company offering project management tools should ensure that the keywords in each ad group are closely related to the specific features and benefits highlighted in the corresponding ad copy and landing page. An ad group for "task management software" should include keywords that are directly relevant to that feature, such as "best task management tools," "online task management," and "project task tracking." By maintaining keyword relevance, the company can improve its Quality Score and achieve better ad placement at a lower cost.

The specificity of your keywords also influences the optimal count. Using a mix of broad, phrase, and exact match keywords allows you to balance reach and precision. Broad match keywords cast a wider net, while phrase and exact match keywords provide more targeted traffic. The right balance depends on your campaign goals and budget.

Match Types of Google Ads Keywords
Match Types of Google Ads Keywords

2.Conducting Effective Keyword Research

To identify the most valuable and relevant keywords for your ad groups, thorough keyword research is essential. Utilizing tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner, can help you uncover high-potential keywords based on search volume, competition level, and relevance to your business.

Let's say you're a marketing agency offering SEO services. When conducting keyword research for your ad groups, you could use a tool like Ahrefs to identify relevant keywords with a healthy balance of search volume and competition. For instance, you might discover that "local SEO services" has a high search volume and moderate competition, making it a valuable keyword to include in your ad group targeting local businesses. By leveraging these research tools, you can build a solid foundation of keywords that will drive targeted traffic to your ads.

Use Ahrefs to identify keywords
Use the tools like Ahrefs to identify keywords

When conducting keyword research, focus on identifying terms that align with your target audience's search intent and have reasonable competition levels. Long-tail keywords, which are more specific and less competitive, can be particularly effective in attracting high-quality, converting traffic.

"Keyword research can help you identify the most relevant search terms. So you'll be less likely to overload your ad groups with keywords that don't deliver value."

3.Structuring Ad Groups for Optimal Performance

To maximize the impact of your keyword strategy, it's crucial to structure your ad groups effectively. Create tightly themed ad groups by grouping keywords based on their relevance and user intent. This approach ensures that your ads are highly targeted and relevant to the search queries triggering them.

For instance, an e-commerce store selling outdoor gear could create ad groups based on product categories, such as "hiking backpacks," "camping tents," and "sleeping bags." Within each ad group, the keywords should be closely related to the specific product category. The "hiking backpacks" ad group might include keywords like "best hiking backpacks," "lightweight hiking backpacks," and "waterproof hiking backpacks." By structuring ad groups around clear themes, the store can deliver ads that speak directly to the user's needs and interests, improving relevance and click-through rates.

Using keyword intent as a guiding principle, you can organize your ad groups to align with the various stages of the buyer's journey. For example, you might have separate ad groups for awareness, consideration, and conversion-focused keywords, enabling you to deliver ads that match the user's mindset and goals at each stage.

Using keyword intent as a guiding principle
Using keyword intent as a guiding principle

Additionally, implementing negative keywords can help refine your targeting and prevent your ads from showing up for irrelevant searches. By excluding terms that don't align with your business or products, you can improve the relevance and cost-effectiveness of your campaigns.

4.Monitoring and Optimizing Keyword Performance

Once your ad groups are up and running, regularly monitoring key metrics is essential for ongoing optimization. Keep a close eye on click-through rate (CTR), Quality Score, and cost-per-click (CPC) to gauge the effectiveness of your keyword strategy.

Regularly monitoring key metrics
Regularly monitoring key metrics

Monitoring Google Ads Performance
Monitoring Google Ads Performance

Let's consider a real-estate agency running Google Ads campaigns to attract potential home buyers. By closely monitoring the CTR, Quality Score, and CPC of their keywords, they can identify which terms are driving the most engagement and conversions. For instance, they might find that the keyword "luxury apartments in [city]" has a high CTR and Quality Score, while "cheap apartments for rent" has a low Quality Score and high CPC. Based on these insights, the agency can adjust their keyword strategy, focusing on terms that resonate with their target audience and drive the best results.

Based on the performance data, make informed adjustments to your keyword list. Remove underperforming keywords that fail to drive meaningful results, and add new, high-potential keywords that align with your campaign goals. Regularly reviewing and updating your keyword list ensures that you're always targeting the most effective terms for your business and audience.

To effectively monitor and optimize your keyword performance, consider the following steps:

  1. Set up conversion tracking to measure the impact of your keywords on your desired actions, such as purchases, sign-ups, or lead submissions.
  2. Use Google Ads' search terms report to identify the actual queries that triggered your ads, and add relevant terms as new keywords or negative keywords.
  3. Regularly review your keyword performance metrics, such as CTR, Quality Score, and CPC, to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  4. Adjust your keyword bids based on performance data, increasing bids for high-performing keywords and reducing bids or pausing underperforming ones.
  5. Continuously test and refine your keyword list, adding new relevant terms and removing those that no longer align with your campaign goals or audience interests.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When managing keywords in your ad groups, there are several common pitfalls to avoid. Overloading ad groups with too many keywords can dilute ad relevance, increase management complexity, and hurt overall performance. Stick to the recommended range of 5-20 keywords per ad group to maintain focus and effectiveness.

For example, a fitness center offering a wide range of services might be tempted to include a long list of keywords in a single ad group, such as "gym memberships," "personal training," "yoga classes," "Pilates sessions," and "nutritional counseling." However, this approach would make it difficult to create ad copy that speaks directly to each user's specific interests. Instead, the fitness center should create separate ad groups for each service, with targeted keywords and ad copy tailored to each offering. This structure allows for more relevant and compelling ads, improving the chances of a click and conversion.

Common mistakes and good practices of Keywords in Google Ads Group
Common mistakes and good practices of Keywords in Google Ads Group

Another mistake is neglecting to use negative keywords. By failing to exclude irrelevant search queries, you risk wasting ad spend on non-converting traffic and diminishing the relevance of your ads.

Let's say a company sells high-end, designer shoes. Without proper negative keywords, their ads might show up for searches like "cheap shoes" or "discount footwear," attracting clicks from users who are unlikely to convert due to the price point. By adding negative keywords like "cheap," "discount," and "affordable," the company can ensure their ads only appear for searches that align with their target audience and product offering, preserving their budget and improving their return on investment.

Finally, failing to optimize based on data-driven insights can hinder the growth and success of your Google Ads campaigns. Regularly analyze performance data and make informed adjustments to your keyword strategy to ensure continuous improvement.

"Quality will always outweigh quantity. You're better off targeting 10 high-quality keywords in your ad than 50 low-quality keywords."


Determining the optimal keyword count per ad group is a critical aspect of successful Google Ads management. By focusing on keyword relevance, conducting thorough research, and structuring ad groups effectively, you can create campaigns that deliver highly targeted, impactful ads to your target audience.

Remember to monitor and adjust your keyword strategy regularly, leveraging performance data to make informed optimizations. By implementing best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can maximize the effectiveness of your Google Ads efforts and drive meaningful results for your business.

To learn more about effective keyword strategies, check out our article on Long-Tail Keywords: How to Identify, Use, and Measure Their Success.

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