Broad Match Field Guide | Search Scientists

Day 10 of 100 Days of AdWords Help: Broad Match Field Guide

Welcome to Day 10 of 100 Days of AdWords Help. If you’re just finding this post and not reading in order, we’re discussing the types of keywords AdWords has to offer, and how to use them to our benefit.

Recap: Match Types

Proper understanding of match types helps advertisers know the difference between the keywords they bid on and the search queries they are actually appearing for. If you’re just tuning in, and are unsure of the difference between a keyword and a search query, get your questions answered in Day 7 of AdWords Help.

What is Broad Match?

Broad match is the match type that Google created to solve an important need. Almost 25% of Google Searches searched in any month were never searched before. This means that even if you were to pick all the perfect keywords for any given month, next month you’d miss out on 25% of your opportunity.

There is a clear need for advertisers to be able to capture the endless kinds of variations that different people will use to search for the same thing. Without broad match, you wouldn’t be able to capture the human-side of search. If three people are searching for a pool cleaner, they may both fire up Google and type in:

  • Person 1 searches: pool cleaner
  • Person 2 searches: pool cleaning services
  • Person 3 searches: company to clean a pool

The variations are endless. How can an advertiser capitalize on profitable searches, when there are 100’s of ways to search the same concept?

Enter broad match. Broad match will help you appear for the synonyms and stems of those synonyms that someone may search to find your business.

How does broad match behave? Think of any synonym for any part of your keyword, and stems of those synonyms.

  •  Broad Match Keyword: ‘dog training’ can help you appear for ‘dog trainer,’ ‘dog potty training,’ ‘how do I train my dog at home,’ ‘should I sign up for dog training classes?,’ ‘picking a dog trainer,’ ‘dog trainer salary’

Reducing Broad Match Risk

As you can see in the above example, a dog trainer wouldn’t want to advertise on terms like ‘dog trainer salary.’ This is the very real-danger of broad match.

By showing up for synonyms and word stems, you risk spending money on irrelevant searches. So when you are using broad match, you must be very careful.

Keep the Bids Low on Broad Match. Broad match bids should be almost half of what your exact match bids are.  Aim to keep your broad match 50% lower than their exact match versions.

  • If you bid $1 on an exact match keyword;
  • Then you should bid $0.50 on broad match version of the keyword

An account should only have 5-10%  broad match keywords. By engineering an account that has a small amount of broad match keywords, you can ensure that you will not have wild spending on irrelevant terms.

Never use broad match keywords without negative keywords. If you are following along to 100 Days of AdWords Help, we’ll discuss negative keywords soon. Negative keywords allow you to tell Google what kinds of synonyms and stems you don’t want to appear for. So if I’m a dog trainer, and I want to prevent the search query ‘dog trainer salary’ from triggering for my dog training ads, I would add the negative keyword ‘salary.’

Using Broad Match Keywords

When you are looking at your AdWords account online, broad match keywords will be the keywords without any special symbols around them. To recap:

  • Exact Match uses brackets: [Cell Phone]
  • Phrase Match uses quotes: “Cell Phone”
  • Broad Match uses nothing: Cell Phone

For advanced users using AdWords Editor to upload keywords, you’ll want to label broad keywords in your excel file upload.

uploading broad match in editor
Uploading broad match in AdWords Editor

Use Caution When Using Broad Match

Broad match can be disastrous for advertisers. When you bid high on a large amount of broad match keywords, your keyword discoverability will run rampant, and you risk appearing for irrelevant searches. When using broad match, make sure to keep your bids low, use sparingly, and counter-balance with plenty of negative keywords.

This post is part of a series: ‘100 Days of AdWords Help’.

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Michael Erickson

Emailing my clients and telling them I helped increase their return on ad spend by 300% never gets old. I love rising above the technical jargon and providing your business with online marketing momentum to reach new heights. Enthusiast for all things science, surfing, and Search Scientists.

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