Duplicate Keyword Don’ts

There’s a misconception in the Google AdWords world that it is fine to use the same keywords in different campaigns. Let’s be clear: this is patently false. While you CAN add the same term within multiple ad groups, the reality of the situation is that this is something that advertisers should NOT do under any circumstances.

Duplicate Keyword Drama

Doing so will cause negative effects and have a dramatic ripple effect of consequences that are difficult to recover from. Firstly, this issue means that your ads will be competing with each other in Google as only one ad will be displayed for a given keyword at one time. Secondly, because you’re competing with your own keywords, you’re actually artificially driving up your own cost per click. Say you’re targeting the broad keyword phrase “boxed lunches” in one ad group and  exact match “gourmet boxed lunches” in another ad group. By using duplicate keywords in different ad groups, Google will select and serve the more relevant ad. 

Remember the AdWords Auction

It’s critical to keep in mind how the AdWords auction works – you’re bidding on keywords in the AdWords auction in an attempt to show up OVER a competitor’s ad. If you’re bidding on the same keyword you’re doing yourself and your campaigns a great disservice.   

The end result of this can be one (or both) of the following situations:

The Exception & Not The Norm

While it’s true that there are some (incredibly rare) cases where accounts may experience a lot of success with duplicates, this success is IN SPITE of those repeated keywords and not because of it. This won’t last forever, which is why you should find and select duplicate keywords for replacement as soon as you can.

Advice Straight from Google

Even Google (the site taking your money) recommends that you remove duplicate keywords when and where ever possible. Google notes variations of your broad match keywords (as well as things like your phrase and exact match keywords) should only be used once wherever possible. The example that Google uses is the broad match keywords “red car” and “car red.” Because these are technically duplicates, they will always be competing against each other.

Whichever of the two phrases performs better will trigger your ad, you’ll want to delete the duplicate that performs worse for the best possible results. Doing so not only guarantees the highest level of visibility for the keyword that you actually want but also prevents you from artificially (and accidentally) inflating your own cost per click at the exact same time.

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