Using Keyword Level URLs in PPC

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In PPC, we have almost unlimited choices in how we structure our accounts.  The flexibility is one of the reasons why I love PPC:  every account is different, and we can tailor the structure and settings to meet each advertiser’s needs.

One such customization is keyword-level destination URLs.  Both Adwords and adCenter, as well as nearly every 2nd tier PPC engine, provides the option to specify destination URLs at the keyword level, as opposed to the ad level (the default for most engines).

Astute readers may be wondering why keyword-level destination URLs are even necessary.  After all, if you’ve structured your account properly, with small, tightly-themed ad groups, you shouldn’t need to use distinct URLs on your keywords, right?

In general, that’s true.  However, there are situations even with small ad groups where keyword destination URLs make sense.

This was the subject of a recent impromptu discussion on the PPC Chat hashtag on Twitter.  John Lavin (@Johnnyjetfan) asked why anyone would use keyword destination URLs if the account is structured well.  The answers were, as usual, informative. Here is some of the feedback, and my commentary.

  • I have one client who uses them for their internal tracking (non-GA). So I have special URLs for each keyword.
    • Melissa’s comment:  Some clients use proprietary tracking systems other than Google Analytics (GA).  In many of these systems, parameters must be assigned to each keyword in order to pass that data to the analytics system.  Therefore, individual keyword destination URLs are necessary to get keyword-level data.
  • Sometimes we have keywords that don’t fit the mold of the landing page and don’t get enough volume to warrant a complete ad group.
    • Melissa’s comment:  While I’d probably still put those keywords in a separate ad group, this is yet another valid reason to use keyword destination URLs.
  • Happens often w/ Ecommerce where descriptive/feature words are better off sending customer to a point closer to the cart.
    • Melissa’s comment:  Absolutely.
  • You can also pass special variables to the landing pages on a keyword by keyword basis.
    • Melissa’s comment:  This is another fantastic use of keyword destination URLs.  For instance, you could use a URL parameter to pass a code or keyword that would then dynamically appear on the landing page.
  • Another advantage is you can amend your destination URLs anytime without having your ad trigger a review.
    • Melissa’s comment:  I hadn’t thought of this – and I like it!  Lately I’ve found that the editorial review process for ad copy is taking far too long, so anything I can do to avoid getting stuck in that purgatory is worth it!

As you can see, there are several instances where keyword destination URLs make a lot of sense, even when account structure is sound.  Many thanks to the PPC Chatters who made this post possible:


Have you used keyword destination URLs in a new and different way? Share in the comments!

Editor’s Note:  I inadvertently left off one of the comment contributors, Andrew Baker.  I apologize for the oversight!  You’re on the list now.

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  1. Great post Melissa. Sorry I missed this #ppccchat discussion. If you are using a third party bid tool, like Marin, Kenshoo,Acquisio, Adobe, kw dest urls are a must. It's some heavy lifting when you have really large accounts, but the long term efficiency in bid optimization and then what you can get from analytics, makes it well worth it.

  2. Great debate, but you left me out of the contributors 🙁 – mine was the last suggestion >


  3. Yikes Andrew – so sorry! Post has been edited and you're now on the list. Apologies!

  4. No worries Mel & thanks for adding me > some good tips on an under used feature – cheers 😉

  5. key word search is very important in seo & ppc ,nice blog………….

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