Doin' That SKAG? A Search Marketing Tip For The New Year

Properly categorized keywords can fuel strategy. As we approach 2013, give your campaign structure an internal audit for ad delivery, reporting and ROI -- a bit of marketing mise en place. In the new year, resolve to reorganize, starting by isolating intent. Not many marketers group keywords by intent, but there’s so much to be gained by doing so. Identify categories with high growth potential, prioritize, find the most important keywords, and then give them some legroom.


Consider a Single Keyword Ad Group strategy (not to be confused with Skag).

Want to keep one keyword live 100% of the time? Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) can do that. It's relatively simple: set a budget for that campaign high enough that you’ll never reach it.  This strategy helps maintain a meaningful share of voice.



If that single keyword currently exists as part of a branded ad group, there are likely other less-critical keywords within it. You may see a quality score bump if you have been mixing your brand terms with other less-powerful terms. Google takes it personally when you claim relevance for 4,000 keywords, when only one is important and performing well. 

SKAGs should guarantee the user’s query is present in the ad text. Multi-keyword Ad Groups (MAGs) must rely on lukewarm generic ad copy or ungainly Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Today, unless the option is unchecked, Google automatically stems keywords; so "dvd player" on broad match will also yield "dvd players" as well as "dvd playars," even though the plural and the misspelled are not additional keywords in an ad group. In a SKAG scenario, "best DVD player" is wedded to custom-written ad text targeting consumers in a particular stage of the research phase. No more compromising on copy that must stand up to hundreds of look-alike keywords.

As a matter of priorities, SKAGs enable your team to focus on the more important initiatives: categorizing keywords in relevant campaigns, writing strong ad copy and receiving pinpoint accuracy in reporting. 

SKAGs should also be an integral part of your strategy for mobile, where the average keyword search query is fewer than three words. No need to migrate your whole desktop campaign; the queries look quite different in this channel. Separation and SKAGing will provide a healthy level of transparency into result sets.

When SKAGing, tailored ad copy and landing pages should improve relevance, click-through-rates and the end-user experience. When you understand the intent of your target audience, you can expand your thinking -- and moreover, your business.

1 comment about "Doin' That SKAG? A Search Marketing Tip For The New Year ".
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  1. Erik Ford from Kaizen, December 12, 2012 at 2:38 p.m.

    Keyword structure and ad copy alignment time and again are key areas of focus that are under-served for optimization. Great tip Robin-

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