Are You Using Too Many Keywords in Your Google Ads?

March 10, 2024

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For Google AdWords, sometimes less is more when it comes to finding and using keywords. One of the most common mistakes people make when creating Google ads is to use way too many keywords in their accounts. Even worse, there is a lot of confusion surrounding how many you should use for your ads groups. At Australian Internet Advertising, we see many mistakes regarding keyword usage in AdWords campaigns. Today, we’ll discuss some common keywords myths and faux pas so you can avoid them and make the most of your Google AdWords marketing strategies and improve your conversion rates.

You might also be interested in WHAT IS THE USE OF GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER?

How many keywords should you use?

Conventional wisdom states that you should have about 20 to 25 keywords for ad groups, and never to exceed 30. The total number though is less relevant than how closely your keywords in each group are related to each other. The trick is to create ad copy that is incredibly specific and relevant with high-quality keywords.

Why should you aim for smaller, targeted keywords instead of using as many as possible?

The more specific and clear your keywords, the more targeted your viewers you will be, and so will any clicks that on your ads that take the viewer to a landing page. Remember, you pay for each click onto your ad, whether or not it generates a sale. If you use loosely grouped keywords or ones that aren’t very relevant, clicks to your ads are less likely to be targeted. Also, you want to keep in mind your quality score, which has a direct bearing on how much you’ll pay for your ads. The lower your score, the more money you’re going to pay and ultimately lose on an AdWords campaign. Your keywords significantly influence your quality score, so keep that in mind when generating a keyword strategy.

Although Google allows you to use up to 30 keywords in each ad group, that doesn’t necessarily mean that using the upper allotted limit is beneficial for your campaign. You don’t want to bloat your account with too many keywords because you think you need to use the upper limit. Using the entire 30 keyword allotment is not a requirement. It’s just a guideline.

If you are efficient and organised with your keywords, chances are you won’t be using the entire 30-word allotment anyway. Sometimes, you can get incredibly good results with an ads group that only uses a handful of keywords.

The PPC biggest mistake is using way too many keywords. Chances are, the more keywords you’re using, the less likely they are to be high-quality and relevant. In essence, having more will the dilute the quality of your keyword pool.

Are You Using Too Many Keywords in Your Google Ads? | AIA Blog

What are the most compelling reasons why you should use fewer keywords in your ads groups?

1. Consider your daily budget.

Everyone who runs an Adwords campaign sets aside a daily budget. For example, let’s say that your daily Ads budget is 25 dollars. Your campaign is using 25 keywords, and each keyword has a CPC rate of 1 dollar, for simplicity’s sake. So on average, your campaign can generate up to 25 clicks per day, as per your daily budget guideline.

But you’re not satisfied. So you decide to use a keyword research tool to find new keywords. Each new keyword has an average CPC of 1 dollar, too. With the keyword search tool, you find a dozen different keywords to try. But you aren’t sure which ones will work, so you decide to add five more, random keywords. This puts your daily budget to 30 dollars, which is over your budget and would be wasted ad spend. Also, those that you added weren’t necessarily well thought out. You’ve increased your daily budget, while also risking the integrity of your quality score.

2. When you hit your daily budget, Google automatically switches off your ads.

Once you hit your daily budget, Google will turn off your ads and won’t let your chosen keywords trigger in any new search queries until the following day. Going over your daily budget with non targeted keywords, and then having your ads automatically shut off is a severe problem for your AdWords campaign goals.

If you have a high-performing keyword, but it only converts in the evening or nighttime hours, then you don’t want Google shutting off your ads by midday. Your higher performing keywords can’t work for you if they are unable to trigger search queries. It’s critical that you don’t add a bunch of extra keywords that take you over budget. Your ad’s performance will be severely curtailed, and you’ll end up losing out on your investment.

Of course, you can increase your daily budget. But you don’t have to do that if you’re deliberate and strategic with your keywords. It’s easy to be tempted to use up the maximum amount of keywords that Google allows for your ads groups. But it’s not always a good idea. If you have a dollar limit on how much you can spend on AdWords campaigns, it’s best to work within it and maximise your opportunities without exhausting your marketing budget via keyword stuffing.

3. When you hit your daily budget, Google automatically switches off your ads.

Reducing your keywords bids is a possible strategy. But it’s risky because you can lose out on your ad’s competitive rank.

4. It’s much easier to maintain an account with fewer, but high-quality, keywords.

Managing a Google Ads account is not an easy process, even if you keep your account small. There are so many things you need to do to maximise your ads performance, including optimising your ad’s text copy, making the most of your extensions, adding in negative keywords, and maintaining your budget and bids to name only a few. Once you start adding, you’re going to unnecessarily bloat your account and make things much harder to manage.

Your Google Ads run on keywords, so the more you add, the higher your workload is going to be. If you run your ads yourself, you’re increasing the amount of time you spend managing your ads. If you hire out the work to an assistant or agency, then managing your ads are going to cost more money the more keywords you use.

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the effort gets 80% of the results. This is especially true when it comes to keywords.

Is it possible to experiment with different keyword combinations?

Yes, it’s always a good idea to experiment when it comes to marketing, and your Google Ads keywords are no different. The key for creating and maintaining a high-performing ad though is to find and keep a solid foundation of relevant, quality keywords for your ad groups. If you’re going to experiment, you want to be sure to prune the lower performing keywords from your list and add in your experimental ones. This will help you stay on budget, too.

Where can you find new keywords to experiment with?

Keyword research tools can be helpful for finding new broad match keywords and keyword phrase matches to experiment with, but your search query data is arguably the most effective place to find them. Search query data will give you a more accurate insight into what your new keywords can offer your ads campaigns. A keyword research tool will provide you with generic, vague and possibly inaccurate estimates regarding search volume and costs regarding specific keywords. But your search query data will give you the actual price and search volume. If you’re interested in experimenting with new phrases, bypass research tools and go straight to your search query date instead.


Running an effective ads campaign, and finding and maintaining a solid base of effective keywords takes time and expertise to get right. Here at Australian Internet Advertising, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses build and manage successful Google Ads campaigns for a variety of industries. Contact us today and see how we can help you reach your digital marketing goals.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

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