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What is a Broad Match Keyword?

At its core, AdWords campaigns are built on keywords. Bidding on, optimizing towards and engaging with keywords are what, with very few exceptions, play important roles in making a Google Ads marketing campaign successful. Keywords are what phrase or phrases an advertiser deems as essential to their business. This could be anything from a brand or product name to even the names of competitors. 

What is important to remember is that, within those phrases, there can be variations on what you give Google and what users might put into the search box that triggers your ad. This might sound complicated but, in reality, this potential variation divides into only three tiers. These are called “Match Types” and, in order of flexibility, are Broad, Phrase and Exact. There used to be more but those were phased out by Google a few years ago. 

An Inverted Keyword Match Type Pyramid

Google has over 99,000 searches per second and with over 90% of the world’s internet traffic it is impossible for an advertiser to maximize their reach without the help of these match types. For our purposes today, we will focus on broad match keywords which have undergone a makeover in the last 3-5 years. 

Broad Match keywords, unlike with phrase and exact, are designed to take a more holistic approach by looking at the user’s recent searches, landing page content and other keywords in your ad group to paint a picture of relevance for the algorithm. For example, if you’re a local yoga studio, you may be bidding on “Yoga Studio Near Me” and running it as a broad match keyword. Since you are allowing Google the flexibility to find context in potential customer searches your ad could, potentially, be triggered by someone searching for “Where to do Yoga”. This is because, due to your keyword set up and landing page content, as well as the user’s previous searches, Google knows this person is likely to be interested in local yoga studios such as yours. The benefit of this is that it leads, once well optimized, to lower click costs and lead costs because your pool of potential searchers is so much bigger. 

The one caveat with this is that, as is the case with all artificial intelligence, the human touch is essential. Google Ads is never a “set it and forget it” program and that is especially true with broad match keywords. While this task, with proper management, eases over time it is essential for the human touch to guide the broad match algorithm in the right direction via the search terms report. This will ensure that irrelevancy is eliminated as quickly as possible. 

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