Google recently announced that same-meaning close variants will soon apply to phrase match and modified broad match keywords. These match types join exact match, which was the first to start showing ads for close variants with the same meaning in September 2018.
I’ve shared what I believe are the three most important things to do ahead of this round of changes: automate bid management, enable a nonlast-click attribution model, and set up an automated monitoring system that checks close variants. You can even grab my script to automate the monitoring process.
But will Google’s change to how keyword match types work have any impact on other ways PPC accounts are managed? Or even more so, does this recent change obviate single keyword ad groups, commonly known as SKAGs? I’ll explain my reasoning in this post, but if you’re strapped for time, the answer I believe is that SKAGs will continue to play a useful role in boosting Quality Score, thereby reducing CPCs, and improving performance of PPC accounts.
What are SKAGs
SKAG stands for ‘single keyword ad group’. As the name suggests, it’s an ad group that has only one keyword in it, and often that one keyword will be an exact match keyword. For the purpose of this post, I am defining a SKAG exactly that way: an ad group with exactly one exact match keyword. This structure became popular as a way for advertisers to get more control over their accounts.
How SKAGs provide more control
Prior to the introduction of ‘close variants’ in 2014, using an exact match keyword meant the user had to type in exactly the same thing as the advertiser’s keyword in order for the ad to be eligible to appear. Thus by having only a single exact match keyword in an ad group, it meant the advertiser knew exactly what the user searched and so they could write a super targeted and relevant ad for that user’s search.
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