Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs): Learn the Pros, Cons and Optimization Tips

Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs): Learn the Pros, Cons and Optimization Tips


Single keyword ad groups (or SKAGs as they are more popularly known) have been ubiquitous in online advertising campaigns in the Google Ads sphere for many years now – and for good reason. It adds that much-needed organization in every campaign, making it more manageable besides delivering a lot of numerous proven advantages.

We shall be highlighting all of them here as well as the few downsides of relying too much on SKAG. This way, we hope to provide an objective overview of single keyword ad groups and, in turn, help you decide whether you should opt to still use SKAGs when doing your campaigns. Make no mistake, we still highly recommend using them and have even shared a couple of guidelines for you to make the most out of your use of SKAGs.

Single Keyword Ad Groups

What Is a SKAG?

A single keyword ad group is often used as a structuring method that groups ads according to their specific relevant keyword and landing page. The strategy seeks to minimize the complexity that might arise from any campaign with numerous ad groups, which is almost always often the case.

Even now, how these SKAGs should be utilized is still being discussed. We are going to focus on highlighting the undeniable benefits of SKAG and share tips that actually deliver the best results. And in so doing, we also aim to prove that abandoning this strategy altogether is a big mistake for any advertiser.

The Benefits of SKAG

Provides Advertisers with Ideal Control over Their Campaigns

The root benefit of SKAG is that it provides you that much-needed control over any ad campaign you have. With this level of control, you get to improve a lot, if not all, essential aspects of any ad campaign. From more effective ads to more satisfactory user experience and better ROI, these are coveted benefits any advertiser out there can’t get enough of. This is also an advantage that arguably can’t be acquired using any other strategy.

This is the very reason why it’s hard to support anyone who supports the idea of shedding SKAGs altogether in your campaigns as you will only end up having to do without these powerful advantages.

Makes It Easier to Track the Performance of Individual Keywords

Any savvy online advertiser and marketer will agree that PPC campaigns require micromanagement to achieve the best possible setup and, in turn, ROI. Using SKAGs streamlines this process because every essential insight on keyword performance will always be available to you.

Since these vital metrics will be readily accessible, you would be able to perform all the necessary adjustments to any campaign in no time, adjustments that can directly boost conversion rates.

Improves Your Landing Pages’ User Experience

Using SKAGs also gives you the best insights on how you can make your ads more engaging and attractive to users. With the help of this information, you won’t have to look elsewhere to know what steps you have to take to enhance and even personalize your landing pages.

Of course, the end goal of this is to boost conversions, and you’ll definitely be able to achieve that easier with LPs that cater to your target audience. Once you’ve hit the sweet spot, so speak, it won’t take long for you to notice other benefits like more clicks and higher revenue for every conversion.

Almost Always Leads to CTR Growth That Often Translates to Better Ad Positions

For many online advertisers, a high CTR is the end-all-be-all for success and profit. Since you will essentially be focusing on only highly targeted keywords with SKAGs, it will be easier for you to focus on getting your ads in front of people who will, in all likelihood, click them every time. Ads with high CTR is often interpreted by Google as being engaging to users and is often used as a gauge of user experience.

Of course, the more your CTR, relevancy, engagement, and your ads’ overall Quality Score improves, the better your ads’ position will be in the SERPs for your target keywords. An added benefit as a result of higher rankings is that you’ll normally be able to acquire winning keywords for a significantly lower bid.

Decreases the Prevalence of Wasted Expenses

Ad campaigns often have no other option but to weather wasted ad spendings, and if your budget is already tight, this might lead you to quit your campaign in no time. Let’s just say that SKAGs let you filter out negative keywords that only eat up your budget. Since you will be able to closely monitor your keywords’ performance, you will always be in the know about which ones are the most ideal to include in a SKAG.

Always Accommodates Scalability

The best PPC agency, that can posses SKAG makes it easy for you to improve your ads’ performance over time due to the sheer amount of accessible high-quality data that will be available to you. Since you’ll always have an inkling about what exact steps to take thanks to them, it’s relatively easier to avoid mistakes and, therefore, scale your campaigns.

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The Cons of SKAG

Here are the reasons why not everyone is a fan of a SKAG structuring strategy and why it shouldn’t be considered as the best practice.

Search Is Transforming

Perhaps, this is the most notable disadvantage that can convince advertisers to forgo SKAG. Search trends, after all, already point to behavioral and contextual targeting, which might more or less overshadow keywords for good. The rise of voice technology, click-to-call ads, and even the constant evolution of language serve as the biggest threats to keywords’ importance as well as the continued use of SKAG’s.

Setup Usually Takes Time and Effort

After all, you will need to select the best keywords to use, and afterward, have to construct a dedicated ad group for each one. Imagine the amount of time you’ll need to invest when you have thousands of keywords in a single campaign alone. Not to mention the fact that you’ll have to consistently pinpoint negative and irrelevant keywords to remove.

The Risk of Duplicate Keywords and Conflicting Match Types

Unless you double or triple check your keywords (which eats up more time), you will have to deal with the risk of creating more than one ad group for one keyword. Duplicate keywords only drag your advertising endeavors down because you might end up with higher bidding costs, which is equal to wasted ad spend. Why? You’ll be bidding against yourself!

There’s also the very real possibility of creating SKAGs with match types that conflict (e.g. setting both Exact Match and Phrase Match). This also leads to bidding prices ballooning.

Tips to Optimize SKAGs

  • Dedicate yourself to constant testing of your ad groups. This way, you’ll be able to identify the most suitable keywords for your ad copy. The more you test and make improvements to the latter, the more you’ll enjoy boosts in user engagement.
  • Be prepared to track and analyze your campaign closely. This is especially true if you still aren’t sure about the most important metrics and factors that drive (or drag) performance.
  • Make sure you target only the most relevant keywords every time. This will only save you from plenty of wasted expenditures. Keep everything as connected as possible to what it is you’re promoting as well as your audience. And always be on the lookout for the terms that generate the most leads.
  • Know what match types to use. They should be dictated by your main goal, whether it’s to get more conversions or raise brand awareness. Prevent conflicts as much as possible by avoiding long-tail keywords and choosing broad match type every time. Rather, you should consider deconstructing these keywords and placing creating a SKAG for each one.
  • Lastly, be open to experimenting. This applies not only to your ad copy but the types of ad groups you create.


SKAGs bring more than just order in ad campaigns; it improves your advertising endeavors as a whole. It’s like getting all the tools and maps you need to get to where you want to go. It gives you that crucial sense of direction in your campaigns, in short, and more importantly the control needed to steer it toward your goals.

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