Keyword Guidelines and Policies

AdWords advertising policies include requirements for the keywords you choose and their related ads. These policies are focused on ensuring that users see AdWords ads that are relevant to a given page, whether it contains search results or other content. They are also intended to prohibit misuse of the AdWords targeting system, including use of another entity's trademark without permission, or false advertising.

Review AdWords' advertising policies

Keyword Best Practices

Keywords lay the groundwork for the ad groups and ads you create. Follow these general tips when managing your keywords:

  • Group your keyword list into similar items, such as by product line. Each group makes up an ad group. You can write multiple ads for each ad group, so keyword groupings should match a single theme. For example, organize keywords about organic coffee in one ad group and keywords relating to gourmet coffee in another.

  • Broader matching options tend to give you more visibility, but accrue higher costs. Therefore, it's important to monitor broad matched keywords closely to make sure they're performing well. You can use the "See search terms" report to make sure your advertising is being expanded to the right types of searches. You can also include other matching options (like phrase- or exact-match) along with broad-matched keywords in an ad group.

  • Narrower matching options tend to give you fewer clicks and lower your costs. It's still important to use descriptive words for these matching options.

  • Negative keywords work well in most cases when you know a term doesn't apply to your business.

  • Keep your campaign settings in mind. If your campaign is set up to target a very specific geographic segment, more general keywords might work well. On the other hand, if you're targeting one or more countries or territories, you may consider using more specific keywords to better focus your traffic.

Here are a few more tips on general keyword list maintenance:

Scrubbing and refining keyword lists

  • Keep specific keywords that relate best to your product or service. Remove keywords that are irrelevant or are likely to bring you the least amount traffic. Well-targeted keywords generally have high clickthrough and conversion rates, while irrelevant keywords are likely to have a low clickthrough rate and a low number of conversions.

  • Keep your keyword lists small and manageable. Try keyword lists of 20-30 tightly themed terms, and expand or refine as needed.

  • Two- or three-word phrases generally work best. For example, instead of the keyword coffee, use fair trade coffee or gourmet coffee beans. Consider removing any single-word or general keywords. These are often too broad and can lead to clicks from people who are less likely to be interested in what you're offering.

Testing and refining keywords regularly

To keep up with the dynamic nature of online advertising, you should continue to test and refine your keywords. Build on keywords that work, and delete others that don't. Track your results by reviewing your campaign performance statistics.