SEM, Shopping

Granular Headline 1s

Valentin Kurdov
By Valentin Kurdov Director of PPC Innovation

What are granular headline 1s?

Granular headline 1s refers to matching the headline 1s in our PPC ad copy to the keywords we have selected on an individual basis. For example, if we have the keyword [dog food], our headline 1 will be “Dog Food.” If we have something more complicated such as [vitamin rich dog food], our headline 1 will reflect that and be “Vitamin Rich Dog Food.” We can also make slight alterations to the original keyword text in order for the headline 1 to be more marketable. It will sound like something we’re selling rather than something a person is searching for. If we’re selling a guide about the stock market and somebody searches [stock market strategy], we can show an ad that begins with “Learn Stock Market Strategy.” We may encounter the problem in which the keyword is over 30 characters, which is the limit for headline 1s in AdWords and Bing Ads. We must then decide what is best to remove from the keyword text when turning it into a headline 1. Let’s say our keyword is [how to read trading charts]. That is too clunky and long, so we can replace “how to read” with “Master” and our final headline 1 will be “Master Trading Charts.” There is no one right way of doing this but there are core principles to follow in almost every case.

Why bother creating granular headline 1s?

Creating granular headline 1s can be a very long and laborious process involving substantial manual work. But we have a very good reason for investing the time into this and that reason is Quality Score! Quality Score can be the main difference between a campaign that surges above the competition and another that gets left in the dust. Quality Score is comprised of 3 main elements: landing page experience, expected CTR and ad relevancy. The ad relevancy portion of this formula is directly impacted by granular headline 1s. As we make our headline 1s more granular, our ad copy becomes more relevant in the eyes of Google, which increases our Quality Score. Expected CTR is influenced by granular headline 1s as well. Users are more likely to click on an ad which directly calls out what they’re searching for. Let’s go back to our dog food example. A person searches for dog food and sees two ads. One begins with “Dog Food” while the other one begins with “Pet Supplies.” Both websites are selling dog food, but the user is much more likely to click on the “Dog Food” ad because it is directly related to what they’re searching.

Quality Score is also one of the key components in the formula that determines the CPCs we are paying in the PPC auctions. The higher the quality score, the bigger discount Google gives to the advertiser. Low quality scores, on the other hand, actually get penalized. Google does this to prevent marketers from bidding on keywords that are not related to the products being sold, since this will have a negative impact on the search engine user experience.

When to not use granular headline 1s

There are a few cases in which we should avoid using granular headline 1s. They are mostly related to legal and compliance issues. Any time we have a competitor or a trademarked term as a keyword, we have to resort to using a generic headline 1. It would be illegal to advertise on terms containing intellectual property, and the consequences for doing so can be severe. Another example is terms that are against Google’s policy for what’s permitted in ad copy. These include medical terms such as “medication,” “pills,” or “cure.” Terms that are sexually suggestive or offensive are also not permitted in ad copy. We can still bid on these terms as keywords in most cases; we just can’t place them in the ad copy.


To recap, the granular headline 1s strategy is an incredibly efficient method of raising our account’s average quality score. It boosts ad relevancy as well as expected CTR. This directly lowers our CPCs, which plays a huge role in the efficiency of our ad spend. The granular headline 1s strategy is therefore recommended under all cases that are legally compliant with federal laws as well as Google policy.