I had mentioned this was coming earlier this year, but the time is upon us. Google said they were getting rid of Google Broad Modifier in late July, and that time is here. I bring this up again because you are likely to see some shifts in your data when this change officially takes place. Small business owners who don’t regularly check in on their campaigns may want to keep a closer eye on things in the next month or two.

What is Happening to Your Keyword Matching?

Much like Google changed the definition of “Exact Match” keyword targeting a few years back and took a bit of control and efficiency away from the advertiser, they are doing it again. Now they are removing a keyword match type entirely. This is a fairly big one if you have been following my advice in recent years. They are removing the broad match modifier option. I have always told small businesses to avoid the default “broad match” keywords because they lead to so much waste. A great alternative option was the broad match modifier, which essentially forced certain words to be in a search to trigger your ad. It was a great way to open things up to a degree but still be sure to have some specificity. For example, using broad match modifier, you could force word “SEO” and the word “consultant” to be in a search phrase to trigger your ad. If you used broad match and “SEO consultant”, it allowed Google to show your ad to any search that they deemed relevant, which led to a lot of waste, especially for advertisers that have certain combinations of words they knew converted better than others. It allowed you to force those words to be combined together.

Now Google is automatically changing all “Broad Modifier” matches to the old “phrase match”, but supposedly opening that up a little. You don’t have to do anything for this change to take place. You will no longer be able to create broad modifier matches.

Adjustments if the Changes Hurt Efficiency

You should be aware that even though the change is automatic, the targeting isn’t the same and if your campaigns and ad groups are set up to specifically benefit from broad match modifiers, you may see a drop in efficiency in the coming weeks.  Just be aware and ready to make adjustments. For example, I have a client that I just saved from a previous agency underperforming and got them running pretty efficiently again, but they use some broad modifier matches, and I will have to keep a specific eye on these and their performance efficiency in the coming weeks. You should keep an eye on things in case they open up too much, and be ready to potentially make adjustments.

Here are some adjustments and tactics you can use to fight drops in efficiency:

  • Create more specific adgroups using phrase and exact matches to stay on top of keyword phrases.
    • Possibly separate same concept but different word keywords into their own adgroups to measure success better
  • Regularly monitor search terms in the coming weeks and be ready to add new negative keywords

Search Engine Journal went into the specifics of what is happening a bit here.

Stay tuned for more.  As the industry learns how things play out, I will share with you here.  We just want to make sure you are prepared and ahead of the game.