I’ve seen articles recently touting the benefits of using the broad match keyword to make sure you capture all of the “long tail” keywords that tend to drive conversions.  Google has always pushed users to use broad match keywords and of course they always suggest it is the best way to get all of those important long tail keywords. For the smaller business or any business that is concerned about efficient use of the budget, I advise being smarter than that.  Let’s break down what this stuff means at a basic level and then explain why broad match may not be the best way to go.

I will start by explaining what the broad match is.  You can go to the Google’s definition here, but  I will try to explain in the most basic way. Broad match is basically letting Google decide what to have your ads show up for.  To use their wording, your ad will show up for “searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.” While it is true what they say that by using broad match you will show up for all of the important long tail keywords, it is also true that you will show up for many, many irrelevant, and unrelated terms, and potentially waste a lot of budget on terms that don’t matter.

What is a long tail keyword? Long tail keywords are basically those long and very specific phrases that you may not think to add individually but tend to convert well because the searcher is being very specific and knows what they want.

For example, a general broad keyword may be “roses”, where as a long tail keyword may be “long stemmed pink roses available close by”. One is very general and using the Google broad match, you would likely show up for the long tail as well and not risk missing this.  However, there is a down side.

Leaving the door open for synonyms and other related searches allows for lots of waste to sneak in and if you have unlimited budget you can always start that way and then narrow it down, but if you add a little bit of intelligence to the setup of your account, you can avoid much of this waste from the get go.  Google telling you to spend your money that is going to them doesn’t seem to be the best source of advice.  Basically they are saying if you just put your ads out there for everything, they will be out there for the good stuff too.

An example of waste I could show you is a company once came to me to help them clean up their Adwords account which was mostly set up with broad terms.  They were a mold inspection company and were targeting “mold inspections” and “mold testing”.  It turned out they were spending and wasting a significant amount of their budget on “cake molds” and “concrete molds”, which Google deemed relevant or synonymous with what they were targeting.

With some basic use of the broad modifier match type, which basically forces certain words to be in a phrase, you can cover the long tail, but still be wise and careful with some of that wasted exposure.  Using the format Google asks for, if you had an adgroup including +pink +roses, you would capture the long tail keywords above and actually set up ads that specifically address pink roses. With the molds, you can add in +mold +test, +mold +testing, and +mold +inspection and get these highly specific terms such as “mold testing professional nearby” or “best mold inspection company in LA”, etc.  You can set up adgroups to these specific things.  You can even add misspellings like +mould +testing, etc. and capture them without exposing yourself to the risk of the pure broad term match.

To sum up, think about what you are targeting. You know your product. Start with broad modifiers forcing at least two words in the search phrase and build your adgroups to those.  Over time you can add negative terms to streamline even more, but you don’t open yourself up to as much potential budget leak as you do with the broad match. Just be thoughtful and thorough to add all of the important modifier possibilities as concepts for adgroups. You can get more specific with phrase and exact matches as you see what is working.

If you need help getting your campaigns to run more efficiently give us a call or email.  I’m sure we can help take some of the stress of this stuff off and get things running well.

Article Name
Keyword Matching Help: PPC, Adwords Tips
Google Certified Partner and SEM Specialist
Google tends to push the thought of broad matching on new advertisers. If you have unlimited budget, that is great, but I prefer to start more intelligently and reduce budget leaks.
Jeremy Skillings