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How Many Keywords Per Ad Group? (For Google Ads & AdWords)

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “how many keywords per ad group?”

But we’ll also go beyond just telling you the exact number for how many keywords should be in an ad group for Google Ads. You’ll also find out if your Google Ads account can have the same keywords in each ad group or if they need to be different for each campaign.

As you’ll discover below, there are specific guidelines you should follow for the quantity of keywords per ad group you should be targeting and their similarities to each other to get the highest return on investment for your digital marketing campaigns.

How many keywords per ad group

How Many Keywords Per Ad Group?

No more than 20 keywords per ad group should be used in Google Ads. This keyword limit for ad groups helps you get the maximum value from your ad budget while also targeting the right audience for each ad group in the campaign.

The reason you want to keep the number of keywords you use in an ad group to 20 or less is because of the following factors that impact the quality and performance of your Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns:

Ad Group Relevance

The keywords you choose for each Google Ad group should be highly relevant to the ad copy. Strong keyword relevance helps your ads get seen by the right users on Google, increases the click-through rate (CTR), and lowers your spending. Therefore, you don’t want to add more keywords than necessary to each ad group.

Improves Quality Score

Google AdWords assigns a Quality Score to your ad campaigns on a scale from 1-10 and its available on a keyword level. And according to Google, “A higher Quality Score means that your ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword, compared to other advertisers.”

One of the key components of the Quality Score is how closely your ad matches the intent behind a user’s search. That means if your ad is targeting the wrong keywords in a group, then the wrong users are seeing your ad copy, and therefore, this results in a lower Quality Score.

The Quality Score for Google Ads directly impacts how much you pay for each Cost-Per-Click (CPC). A lower Quality Score = higher CPC costs while a higher Quality Score = lower CPC costs.

Better Use of Ad Budget

When you’re running PPC ads with Google AdWords, you have to set a daily budget for each campaign. By limiting the number of keywords you have per ad group, you can get the maximum return on investment (ROI) while also finding out which keywords deliver the most value for your business.

For example, if you have a daily budget of $60 and your average CPC for each keyword is $1, then you could potentially get 3 clicks per keyword if you limit your ad group to 20 keywords. ($1 CPC x 20 keywords x 3 clicks per keyword = $60.)

But if you had 60 keywords in your ad group, then that means you could only afford to get 1 click per keyword for your $60 budget. ($1 CPC x 60 keywords x 1 click per keyword = $60.)

Having a smaller list of keywords allows you to find out which terms deliver the best performance for your ad group at a faster rate. Because you can afford to have each keyword clicked 3 times per ad group for your $60, you’ll know more quickly which terms are the most relevant to your audience, get the highest number of clicks, and convert the best on your website.

Note: If you need help using AdWords to purchase keywords for your website, then check out this other guide on how to buy keywords on Google here.

Download the SEO Keyword Research CheatsheetDownload the SEO Keyword Research Cheatsheet

Now that you know how many keywords should be in an ad group, let’s now move on to the second part of this guide that explains if you should use the same or different keywords in each Google Ads set.

Can Ad Groups Have the Same Keywords?

Ad groups can have the same keywords but this will affect which ads are eligible to appear when one of the keywords matches a user’s search term on Google or its partner sites. Google AdWords uses a set of preferences to determine the right keyword and ad group for the auction.

As explained in a Google document on using similar keywords in Google Ad accounts, you may have multiple keywords that are the same or overlap in meaning that could match a given search query. In that case, only one of those keywords can trigger an ad to appear from your account.

For example, you might have the keywords “SEO course” and “SEO training course” in the same ad group or different ad groups, which also match the search query “training course for SEO”. However, only one of those keywords can trigger an ad for the search term. You cannot have two ads from the same Google account appearing at the same time on the search engine results pages (SERPs) or Google’s partner sites.

To determine which keyword and ad win the auction, Google AdWords considers relevance signals in addition to Ad Rank, which is calculated using factors like your bid amount, ad quality, the context of the search, etc.

Should Each Ad Group Have Different Keywords?

Each ad group should have different keywords and you should never repeat the same keyword in multiple ad groups within the same campaign. Putting different keywords in each ad group allows you to target a broader range of search queries and prevents your ads from competing with each other for clicks.

According to Search Engine Land, having similar keywords in more than one ad group can cause a number of problems: “What this means is that you lose the control to decide which set of ads should be shown for the term. This can be problematic later in the reporting and optimization phase because it can end up generating false information about how that keyword actually performed (and why).”

However, using the same keyword in more than one ad group is fine as long as it appears in different campaigns that are targeted in different ways. You should always group your keywords into themes to increase relevance and to avoid any overlap with other ad groups. You should also consider having your ads mention at least one of your group’s keywords in the headline.

How Many Keywords Does Google Ads Allow?

Google Ads allows 20,000 keywords per ad group and a maximum of 5 million ad group targeting items per account such as keywords. You can also have up to 10,000 negative keywords per campaign.

You can view the complete list of Google Ads account limits here.

How many keywords should be in an ad group summary

Keywords Per Ad Group Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide answering the question about how many keywords per ad group for Google Ads should you focus on

As you discovered, the recommendation for how many keywords should be in an ad group is 20 or fewer search terms. By following this recommendation, you can maximize your ad budget and target the right audience for each ad group in the AdWords campaign.