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Paid Search 101: Building a Great Google Ads Account Structure

Photo by Arkan Perdana from Unsplash

Google’s advertising platform has always been a step ahead of the competition. When it comes to paid search systems, it’s in a league of its own in terms of offering users options for creating targeted ads. It produces results quicker than SEO and is more measurable than social media ads.

The name change (from Google Adwords to Google Ads) has only made this particular product more valuable to small businesses

Google Ads’ ease of use and expanded advertising capabilities won’t do much if you don’t get the basics right. At the heart of every successful Ads campaign is a remarkable account structure. 

Why Does Structure Matter in Google Ads?

Creating an effective account structure is critical to the success of a paid search campaign. It ensures that keywords, ad messages, and landing pages align with your business objectives. An effective structure is one that’s deeply connected to your marketing strategy and business needs.

When approaching this endeavor, you should also think beyond the initial setup. The goal should be to create an agile structure that has all the necessary tactical elements. Doing so will make for efficient ongoing maintenance and for campaigns to scale as the business grows. 

The latest in paid search technology is increasingly reliant on algorithm-based automation and scripts. An effective account structure will position your business to benefit from all these innovations.

The Process

Building a successful Google Ads account is quite similar to constructing your dream home. You might have an empty lot (new account) and build from the ground up. Or you could be renovating an old dump of an account that’s falling apart. Whatever your starting point, a step-by-step process will help you achieve the desired results.

Wordstream has an in-depth article on creating and maintaining a highly profitable Google Ads account. Below is a condensed version of their step-by-step guide to creating a brilliant paid search account structure.

Step 1 – Decide How to Structure Your Account 

The following tips will help you choose the right structure for your account:

  • Based on the structure of your website. If you already have an effective website structure, follow what you have now. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 
  • Buy products or services offered. Think about the different services or products your brand offers and structure your account the same way, select the most valuable ones. Carefully map out your product, and divide your budget between campaigns. 
  • Based on location.  If location targeting is essential, structure your account based on where your physical office or store is located. For example, create a Lisbon campaign to sell your course to only those in the local area.

There are plenty of tactics to structure your account. If you feel at a loss, seek help from Google Ads experts. Ultimately, it’s about taking the time to develop a systematic structure that will be easy to manage, monitor, and optimize to get the best results over time. 

Ponder various structuring techniques before deciding on the one that works best for your business. Finally, map out the structure on a piece of paper to properly visualize the campaigns and ad groups you plan on creating.

Step 2 – Conduct Keyword Research

You’ve drawn up an account structure with campaign themes and ad group topics. The next step is filling up those ad groups with keywords, and this involves some thorough research. Keyword research ensures you choose keywords that aren’t too competitive or have low-quality scores or search volume. 

Start by going through each ad group. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords for each ad group. Remember, it’s best to start small with the number of keywords you use per ad group (10 to 20 max). This prevents keyword overcrowding. 

You will want to use various match types and bid higher the more restrictive you go with your match type of choice. You can dive in and start building after you have a keyword list for each ad group in place.

Photo by Launchpresso from Unsplash

Step 3 – Create Your First Campaign

Building out your first campaign effectively means starting with the highest priority keyword on your list. Then you can work your way down from there. 

Go through your settings diligently and double-check the following:

  • Type.  If you prefer to keep search and display separate, change the setting to Search Network Only.
  • Locations and languages. The location and language used are crucial for some businesses. If this is the case with your own brand, make sure you target the correct ones for your Ads campaign. 
  • Bid strategy. Bid manually to have granular control over your budget. 
  • Default bid and budget. Set your default bid to a number that you’re comfortable paying per click. To come up with a budget, calculate how much you are willing to spend per day on that campaign.

Step 4 – Create Your First Ad Group and Text Ad

You’ll need ads to get your campaign to run properly. And the very first thing you’ll need to do is create a new ad group and then create your first ad group for it.

Here are some helpful tips when creating ad text for the very first time.  

  • Stick to character limits. Your ad headline can have two 30 character headlines, plus one consolidated 80 character description line. 
  • Ensure that keywords are relevant. The text you use in your ad should always reflect the keywords and the target landing page.
  • Implement best practices.  Examples include adding special offers using numbers and using a period at the end of the description line. 
  • Follow Google’s Ad Approval Guidelines. You can find them here.
  • Direct to the most relevant landing page. Devote some time and resources to developing ad group-specific landing pages. 


Google Ads offers a way for advertisers to reach their target audience in a way that would not have been possible with traditional advertising mediums. Whether you sell oysters or orchids, it’s an online advertising platform that allows you to connect with potential customers on a more personal level. 

The success of a Google Ads campaign hinges on having an effective account structure. In fact, it is crucial if you want to reap the rewards for your paid search efforts. 

The building blocks of a great Google Ads account structure lie in following a systematic process that starts with a plan for how you want your account to be structured and ends with adding relevant keywords. 

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