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September 28, 2020

Broad Match Keywords in Google Ads: What A Mistake

A broad match keyword is a word or phrase added to Google Ads that will trigger your ad for anything even vaguely related to that keyword. Google Ads tends to add broad match keywords as the default, they show in your account as a keyword without any punctuation (eg leaf blower is broad match, whereas “leaf blower” is phrase match, and [leaf blower] is exact match).

 

If you’re managing your own Google Ads account, you might be tempted to just throw in a bunch of broad match keywords to trigger your ad to a lot of users and hope for the best – but does this actually work? The short answer is no, not usually. Unless you have a specific strategy and reason behind using broad match keywords (and you really know what you are doing), they aren’t effective when trying to reach your target audience.

 

First of all, let’s dive into what broad match keywords actually are. When you use a broad match keyword, Google will show your ads to anyone searching anything even vaguely related to that keyword. For example, if you use the word “dress” as a broad match keyword in your Google Ads campaign, your ad might show up on any search term with the word dress in it, as well as any searches for words that Google considers related to the word dress. This means that your ad could be showing up for everything from “wedding dress” to “salad dressing” and even related searches like “skirts” and “T-shirts”. In short, not very relevant.

 

So what are the alternatives? Aside from broad match, there are two other main ways to add keywords to your Google Ads Campaign, these are phrase match and exact match. The key with these keyword strings is that they both allow you to use specific and targeted keywords that are highly relevant for your business, so your ads are only seen when someone types in that specific keyword phrase (or a close variation).

 

Phrase match allows your ad to show primarily on searches with your phrase either before or after additional words. For example, if your phrase match keywords are “Wedding Dress”, your ad could show up for the searches “Buy Wedding Dress” and “Sell Wedding Dress”. This is definitely more targeted than the broad match keyword as at least you are in the specific realm of wedding dresses, but it is still not the most detailed option out there.

 

If you have an idea of the exact phrases your ideal client is likely to search when looking for your product, do some keyword research to make sure this is actually searched for, and if so use that as an exact match keyword phrase. Exact match keywords show your ads only to those who search close to that exact term. This means that, if your keywords are “buy wedding dress”, your ad will only show up for very close variations of that search term. This means that if you use the keyword “buy wedding dresses” you can customise your ad to that specific search which means your ad is more likely to get the click from someone searching. You can apply this theory to all exact match keywords you use, and closely matching the ad to the search term will really help your clickthrough rate which can help to improve your quality score. 

 

Overall, phrase match and exact match keywords can complement each other in a good Google Ads campaign, but avoid broad match keywords where you can as they are best left to the professionals if used at all. 

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