Advanced Search Engine Marketing: Account Structure

After clear online marketing goals and budgets have been set, the next step in a search engine marketing strategy is to properly structure a client’s paid online marketing accounts, such as Google AdWords and Microsoft Adcenter.

Google AdWords & MSN adCenter

Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter are surprisingly similar in their functions and features.  Between AdWords and AdCenter it is possible to reach almost the entire USA internet audience.

AdWords ad copy are shown in Google search engine results and partner sites, like AOL, and hundreds to millions of others.  AdCenter ad copy is shown in Bing and Yahoo search engine results and partner sites.

Introduction to SEM Account Structure

Digital structure to represent search engine marketing account structureIn a nutshell, accounts contain campaigns, campaigns hold ad groups, ad groups are where keywords and ad copy reside.  Reporting is present at all levels in an account and can be considered a stand-alone feature.

The Account Level

At the account level, campaigns, billing, user administration and reporting tools are available.

The Campaign Level

The bulk of an account structure is built at the campaign level and structural complexity increases at the ad group level.  The campaign level is where geo-targeting, budgets, language, site links, network display options, ad rotation optimization preferences and Ad Groups are set.

The Ad Group Level

The ad group level holds the keywords and ads that are pulled to the search engine results page when an internet user enters a keyword or phrase being targeted by your online marketing efforts.

Keyword selection includes match type selection and negative keywords.  Improper set up will cause account inefficiencies and eat up significant percentages of monthly marketing budgets.  Inefficiencies can be illustrated as clicks made on your ad by internet users where there is a disconnect between the ad clicked and the search term(s) entered.  Once that particular user lands on your website, but fails to find what they are looking for due to the disconnect, they will leave the site.  Hence, you paid to land a visitor on your site that was not your target audience because you ad was either vague, confusing, incorrect, or should never have been pulled to show for the search querry entered to begin with.

In addition, it is noteworthy to mention that ad copy is a counterpart to keyword selection, which is also managed at the ad group level.  Ad copy is one of the most important strategic components of search engine marketing.  To apply proper structure to ad copy is an art unto itself.  To learn more please refer to this article, AdCopy Writing.

A diagram that shows the search engine marketing account structure of AdWords, top down, Account, Campaign, Ad Group, Ad & Keyord


  • Used Car Lot ad is triggered by search term – “toy car” because set to bid on the word car in broad match.

Problem: Negative keywords need to be implemented.  “Car” is too broad of a keyword, it can apply to anything that is directly or indirectly related to the word “car.”

  • Toy store ad lands traffic to a general toys page from search traffic for the keyword – “toy car” because set to bid on the word “toy” in broad match.

Problem: Improper targeting.  The keyword “toy” by itself is too broad of a keyword, more specificity is required. Customers will not find what they are looking for without further effort on their part, if find it at all.  Waste of a click and the cost associated to it.

Success Through Structure

The success or lack thereof of search engine marketing campaigns rests, to a great extent, on their proper structure. Improper or convoluted SEM account structure undermines all other paid search marketing efforts and has the potential to cause a large number of inefficiencies, such as improper budget management, difficulties performing account optimization, and a general lack of control of overall online marketing efforts.

Though an advertiser always has the freedom to make changes to their account structure at any time, it is important to have an online marketing professional lay a solid foundation from the very start and maintain it systematically according to internet best practices to avoid wasteful spend and to increasingly drive sales or leads at a profit.

Call or contact us today to leverage our advanced search engine marketing strategies.