Google Ads Keyword Limit: How Many You Should Use?
In today’s digital age, online advertising has become an integral part of business growth. Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, is a prominent platform that allows businesses to reach their target audience effectively. One crucial aspect of running successful Google Ads campaigns is choosing the right keywords. However, many advertisers are often left confused, “What is the Google Ads keyword limit, and how many keywords should I use?” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the complexity of Google Ads keyword limits and provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions for your advertising campaigns.
When it comes to running successful Google Ads campaigns, selecting the right keywords is paramount. Keywords are the foundation upon which your ad targeting is built, and they play a crucial role in determining the success of your advertising efforts. However, Google Ads has certain limitations on the number of keywords you can use in a single campaign. Let’s explore more about Keywords and Google Ads Keywords limit in the following section.
Understanding the Role of Keywords in Google Ads
Keywords are specific words or phrases that advertisers bid on to trigger their ads. Keywords act as the bridge between your ads and the audience you want to reach. When users type in specific search queries on Google, your ads are displayed based on the relevance of your chosen keywords. Therefore, selecting the right keywords is crucial to ensure that your ads appear in front of potential customers who are actively searching for products or services like yours.
Types of Keywords
Keywords in Google Ads can be categorized into five primary types, each with its own implications for ad targeting:
- Broad Match Keywords: These keywords trigger your ads to show for a wide range of search queries, including variations, synonyms, and related terms. For example, if your broad match keyword is “running shoes,” your ad may appear for searches like “best jogging sneakers” or “athletic footwear.” This match type provides broad exposure but may also result in less precise targeting.
- Exact Match Keywords: On the other end of the spectrum, exact match keywords are highly specific. Your ad will only be triggered when a user’s search query precisely matches your keyword. Using the same example, if your exact match keyword is “[running shoes],” your ad will exclusively show when someone searches for “running shoes” with no variations. While this match type offers precision, it may limit the reach of your ads.
- Modified Broad Match Keywords: By adding a “+” sign before one or more words in your keyword (e.g., +women’s +shoes), you can specify that those words must be present in the search query. This provides a bit more control than a traditional broad match.
- Phrase Match Keywords: These keywords are enclosed in quotation marks (e.g., “women’s shoes”). Your ads will show for searches that include the keyword as a phrase in the query. This means your ads could appear for queries like “buy women’s shoes” or “women’s shoes online.”
- Negative Keywords: These are words or phrases you specify as irrelevant to your campaign. If a user’s search query includes a negative keyword, your ad won’t be shown. For example, if you sell new shoes, you might use “used” as a negative keyword to avoid showing your ads to people looking for used shoes.
Using a combination of these keyword types and regularly monitoring and optimizing your campaigns can help you target the right audience and improve the performance of your Google Ads campaigns.
Google Ads Keyword Limit
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the Google Ads keyword limit. Google Ads has a defined keyword limit, and understanding this limit is essential for optimizing your ad campaigns. Here’s a breakdown of the keyword limits you need to know:
Maximum Number of Keywords per Ad Group
Google Ads doesn’t have a strict maximum limit on the number of keywords you can have in an ad group. However, it’s essential to maintain a balance between having enough keywords to cover relevant search queries and keeping your ad group focused and manageable. Having too many keywords in a single ad group can make it challenging to create highly targeted ad copy and optimize your campaign effectively.
As a guideline, it’s recommended to start with around 10-30 closely related keywords in an ad group.
Here are some considerations:
- Relevance: Make sure that all the keywords in an ad group are highly relevant to the ads and the landing page. This helps improve your Quality Score and ad performance.
- Grouping: Group keywords that share a common theme or intent together. This helps you create highly targeted ads and landing pages.
- Size: In most cases, having around 10-20 closely related keywords per ad group is a good starting point. This number is manageable and allows you to create specific ad copy.
- Negative Keywords: Consider adding negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches and improve ad targeting.
- Match Types: Pay attention to the match types you use (broad match, phrase match, exact match). Different match types can impact the number of keywords you need.
- Regular Review: Periodically review your ad group performance and make adjustments as needed. You may need to add or remove keywords based on performance data.
- Ad Extensions: Consider using ad extensions to provide additional information to users without cluttering your ad group with more keywords.
Ad groups are thematic groupings of keywords that help you organize your campaigns effectively. It’s essential to structure your ad groups logically to improve ad relevance and click-through rates.
Google Ads allows keywords with a maximum character limit of 80. This includes spaces and punctuation. It’s advisable to create concise and relevant keywords that capture the essence of your products or services.
Quality over Quantity
While Google Ads doesn’t impose a specific limit on the number of keywords you can use across all your campaigns, it’s crucial to prioritize quality over quantity. Instead of bombarding your campaigns with numerous keywords, focus on selecting highly relevant, high-performing keywords that align with your advertising goals.
Please be aware that these limits are subject to change over time, as Google periodically updates its policies and offerings. It’s advisable to consult the latest information in Google Ads Help or Documentation to ensure you are working within the current parameters.
What is an Ad Group and How Does it Work?
An ad group is designed to encompass one or more ads with similar targeting criteria. When you create an ad group, you specify a bid (price) to be applied when the keywords within that ad group trigger your ads. It’s crucial to avoid overloading an ad group with too many keywords, as this can render it ineffective and lead to confusion for Google Ads. When structuring your ad groups, it’s essential to ensure a logical organization of your keyword lists to optimize your ad’s reach among the right audience.
Why you shouldn’t target too many keywords
While it’s tempting to cast a wide net by including a vast number of keywords in your Google Ads campaign, it’s important to understand that there can be downsides to targeting too many keywords. Here are several reasons why it’s advisable to strike a balance and not go overboard:
1. Your budget isn’t big enough
One of the primary reasons for not overloading your campaign with keywords is budget constraints. Each keyword you target comes with a cost, as you pay for each click (CPC). If your budget isn’t substantial, spreading it too thin across a large number of keywords might result in insufficient funds to effectively bid on the most important and high-performing keywords. This can lead to missed opportunities and underperformance of your ad campaign.
2. Your campaigns will stop running after exhausting your daily budget
Google Ads allows you to set a daily budget for your campaigns. When you target a multitude of keywords without considering your budget limitations, you risk running out of budget too quickly. Once your daily budget is exhausted, your ads will stop running for the rest of the day. This means that potential customers won’t see your ads, and you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities for conversions. By targeting a more manageable number of keywords, you can ensure your budget is distributed effectively throughout the day.
3. It will be difficult to identify underperforming keywords
Effective campaign management involves ongoing monitoring and optimization. When you have an excessive number of keywords to oversee, it becomes challenging to identify underperforming keywords. Without recognizing which keywords are draining your budget without providing valuable returns, you’ll miss the opportunity to cut your losses and allocate your resources to more promising areas of your campaign. A smaller, well-organized keyword list allows for more precise performance evaluation.
4. It is hard to manage too many keywords in your Ad Group
Managing a large number of keywords is a time-consuming endeavor. It requires constant attention to ensure your campaign is performing optimally. You need to regularly review data, adjust bids, create relevant ad copy, and optimize landing pages. This can be overwhelming when dealing with an extensive keyword list. It’s often more efficient to focus on a smaller, more manageable set of keywords, allowing you to dedicate more time and effort to strategic improvements rather than routine maintenance.
Finding the Sweet Spot: How Many Keywords Should You Use?
The number of keywords you should employ in your Google Ads campaign is not a one-size-fits-all equation; it hinges on numerous factors, including your campaign goals, budget, and the complexity of your products or services.
Google Ads does permit up to 20,000 keywords per ad group and a maximum of 5 million ad group targeting items (such as keywords) per account. In addition, you have the option to include a maximum of 10,000 negative keywords for each campaign. However, it is generally advisable to limit the number of keywords in each ad group to around 10-30. To maximize your ad’s effectiveness, it’s recommended to include a minimum of 5 keywords in each ad group, increasing the likelihood of connecting with your target audience.
Leveraging the Google Ads Keyword Tool can assist you in searching for keywords and generating ad group ideas, assessing keyword performance, and consolidating them into a single ad group. Let’s explore the considerations to help you determine the optimal number of keywords:
1. Relevance is Key
In the world of Google Ads, quality trumps quantity. It’s essential to focus on selecting keywords that are highly relevant to your products or services. A smaller number of pertinent keywords can often outperform a larger number of generic ones. High-quality keywords lead to better ad performance and user experience.
2. Effective Keyword Grouping
Organizing your keywords into well-structured ad groups is essential. Each ad group should contain closely related keywords that share a common theme. This allows you to create tailored ad copy and landing pages for each group, ultimately improving your ad’s relevance and Quality Score. Quality Score is a crucial metric that can impact your ad’s visibility and cost per click (CPC).
3. Consider Different Match Types
Google Ads offers various match types, including broad, phrase, and exact match. Each type has its own set of advantages and considerations. To cover a wide range of search intents, you may use a mix of match types strategically. For instance, you can use exact matches for highly relevant and converting keywords while using broad matches to capture broader audience segments. Adjusting match types requires regular monitoring and optimization.
4. Regularly Review and Refine
A “set and forget” approach doesn’t work in the dynamic world of digital advertising. Continuously monitor the performance of your keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. Analyze data to identify underperforming keywords and those with high conversion rates. Remove or pause keywords that aren’t delivering results and add new ones as needed. Regular optimization is crucial for sustained success.
5. Budget Constraints
Your budget plays a pivotal role in keyword selection. If you have a limited budget, you may need to be more selective with your keywords. Focus on those keywords that are most likely to convert and align with your primary business objectives. Keyword optimization can help you make the most of your budget by prioritizing high-impact keywords.
6. Competitive Landscape
The competitiveness of your industry or niche can influence your keyword strategy. In highly competitive markets, you may need to use a larger number of keywords to capture a share of the market. However, remember that relevance remains paramount. Don’t add keywords simply to increase volume; ensure they align with your business goals and target audience.
7. Use Negative Keywords Wisely
Negative keywords are a powerful tool in your arsenal. They allow you to filter out irrelevant traffic and improve the efficiency of your campaign. By excluding keywords that are not relevant to your offerings, you can reduce wasted ad spend and improve your return on investment (ROI).
Advanced Strategies for Keyword Management
Beyond the considerations mentioned above, there are some advanced strategies you can implement for effective keyword management:
1. Keyword Expansion
Keyword expansion involves periodically identifying and adding new keywords to your campaigns. This can be based on customer feedback, search query reports, or industry trends. Expanding your keyword list allows you to tap into new opportunities and reach a broader audience.
2. Create Targeted Ad Groups
Segment your keywords into specific ad groups based on relevance. This allows you to craft tailored ad copy and landing pages, improving the overall user experience and ad performance.
3. Keyword Match Type Sculpting
Keyword match type sculpting involves controlling which match types your keywords are eligible for. For instance, you can use negative keywords to exclude certain match types, ensuring that specific keywords only trigger ads with the desired match type. This level of control can fine-tune your ad targeting.
4. Seasonal Keyword Optimization
If your business experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand, consider adjusting your keyword strategy accordingly. You may want to bid more aggressively on specific keywords during peak seasons and reduce your spend on them during off-peak times. Seasonal keyword optimization requires careful planning and monitoring.
5. Monitor and Adjust
Regularly monitor the performance of your keywords. Remove underperforming keywords and add new ones as trends and customer behavior evolve. A dynamic approach to keyword management is essential for sustained success.
Measuring Success: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Regardless of the number of keywords you use, success in Google Ads is quantified through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Here are some essential KPIs to monitor:
1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
CTR measures the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. A higher CTR indicates that your ad is relevant to users’ search queries and encourages engagement. Monitoring CTR can help you assess the effectiveness of your ad copy and keyword relevance.
2. Conversion Rate
The conversion rate tracks the percentage of users who take the desired action after clicking on your ad. This action could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. A high conversion rate signifies that your keywords and ad messaging align with user intent.
3. Quality Score
Quality Score is a metric assigned by Google that assesses the quality and relevance of your keywords, ad copy, and landing page. A higher Quality Score can lead to lower CPC and better ad positions. Regularly optimizing your keywords and ad groups can improve your Quality Score.
4. Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI is a critical metric that measures the profitability of your Google Ads campaign. It takes into account both the cost of advertising and the revenue generated from those ads. Achieving a positive ROI is the ultimate goal of any advertising campaign.
In conclusion, the question of how many keywords to use in your Google Ads campaign is not one with a definitive answer. Instead, it’s a matter of striking a balance between relevance and volume, taking into consideration your campaign goals, budget, and industry dynamics. Quality always trumps quantity when it comes to keywords, and the key is to select keywords that align with your business objectives and resonate with your target audience.
As the digital advertising landscape continues to evolve, staying informed about updates and best practices is essential for maintaining a successful Google Ads campaign. Regularly review and optimize your keywords, monitor performance metrics, and adapt your strategy as needed to ensure that your Google Ads investment delivers the desired results.
Remember that while keyword management is a crucial aspect of your campaign, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. An effective Google Ads campaign involves a holistic approach that includes compelling ad copy, well-designed landing pages, and a clear understanding of your audience’s needs and behaviors. By focusing on these elements in conjunction with your keyword strategy, you can maximize the impact of your Google Ads campaigns and achieve your marketing goals.