Web Marketing Today

How to Use Google AdWords Pay Per Click Broad Match

With most search engine pay per click programs, there are different matching types that are associated with keywords. Since Google commands the lion’s share of the search market, I’ve concentrated on its keyword matching options in this article.

Exact and Phrase Match

The exact match option is just as it sounds: an exact match of the terms you place inside brackets when you enter keywords into your account. If you were adding an exact match keyword to your account it would look like this: [apple pie]. Ads associated with this exact match would only show up for those specific keywords, that is, for “apple pie” but not for “apple pie recipe”.

Phrase match terms are entered with quotes around them. The phrase match “apple pie” term would allow ads to show when a searcher put in “good apple pie,” “buy apple pie,” or “yummy apple pie”.

Extended Broad Match

The third Google matching option – broad match — is a bit more complicated. With broad match, you simply enter your phrase with no special characters (no quotes or brackets) around it. This is Google’s default way to add keywords. With “apple pie” into your account as a broad match, your ad would display for any search query containing “apple” and “pie”.

When broad match first launched the connection between your broad match keyword and the keyword your ad was displaying for was straight forward. Over time, Google introduced the notion of “expanded broad match.” Now for example, account could end up displaying an ad based on your broad match keywords of “apple pie” when the searcher entered “dessert” or “fruit pastry”.

Broad match in the early days was a fantastic way to find new keywords and ways that customers think about your products and services. However, over time, Google stretched the relationship between the broad matched terms to the point that it is often difficult to see any logical relationship between the searcher’s term, your account’s keyword, and the displayed ad. This often results in the ad displaying for terms that are not relevant.

How to Use Broad Match

Fortunately, there are several approaches an advertiser can take to minimize the damage.

  1. Avoid the use of broad match altogether. Exact match and phrase match often bring excellent traffic while avoiding Google making questionable expanded match choices.If you decide to run with broad match:
  2. Avoid using one or two word keyphrases. Instead, adopt a practice to only run broad match on terms with 4 or more words in the phrase. This will minimize the chances of the Expanded Broad match algorithm misapplying your ads.OR
  3. Identify non-relevant terms that the ad displays for and add those terms as negative keywords. If a searcher enters a keyword that is included in your negative keyword list, your ad will not display. The negative term negates the ad from showing. Developing a negative keyword list is an on-going effort. Don’t be surprised if over time your negative keyword list becomes quite long. Tools like the Google Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal), a good analytics program, and specialized tools like PPCProbe (www.ppcprobe.com) can help you identify negatives.

Broad match can be very effective if you want to get the most visibility possible. Managed correctly it can be cost effective and help you gain insight in how customers view your products.


Christine Churchill
Christine Churchill
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