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What Broad-Match Keywords Mean for Your Google Ads Campaign

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Broad Match Keywords - Relentless Digital LLC Team

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a great way to get more eyes on your contractor services for a small fee. One of the most popular PPC advertising platforms is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) which lets you bid on certain search terms. If you win the bid, your ad will show on searches containing your chosen keywords, and you’ll pay a small fee for every person that clicks on the ad.

Since PPC campaigns can quickly become costly, it’s essential to have the perfect keyword terms to attract your desired audience. Irrelevant queries and incorrect keywords will lead to the wrong people clicking your links, and while you’ll get more visitors to your landing page, you won’t convert many of them. And since you’re paying Google a certain fee per click, these lost sales will end up costing you money. This is especially true for contractors, who need to factor in keywords for all of their services while targeting the correct audience.

What Are Broad-Match Keywords?

Broad-match keywords are the default match type offered by Google Ads. This match type lets you pick a certain term, and Google will attempt to find all the keywords that are similar when determining your ad’s eligibility. By matching your ad to any related query, you can target a much wider audience than with more specialized keyword match types.

A common example is “tennis shoes”. If you use this term as your broad-match keyword for your ad group, Google will consider your ad eligible for any search query containing the search term “tennis” and “shoes” and common variants and synonyms of those terms.

In 2006, Google added the expanded broad-match type, which expands what the search engine considers relevant variations of your keyword. Unfortunately, the algorithm may sometimes incorrectly decide that two terms are similar keywords. In our tennis shoes example, the broad-match algorithm may decide that “basketball shoes” have the same meaning as “tennis shoes”, which don’t actually match the user’s search query and may result in a wasted click.

Other Keyword Match Types

While broad match works well for most companies, there are times when you’d like more control over how Google matches your ad group to search queries. While these keyword match types may require more research and careful consideration, they may be a better option for your particular ad group and result in searches that lead to higher conversions.

Exact Match

As the name suggests, exact-match keywords will only match your ad to your specific keyword and close variants. A close variant can include:

  • Misspellings
  • Singular/plural forms
  • Abbreviations
  • Acronyms
  • Synonyms
  • Implied terms

The exact-match type is useful when you know that your customers use one specific search term when looking for your services. Unfortunately, using an exact match will prevent all the queries that don’t contain that exact keyword from displaying your ad.

You can designate a specific keyword as an exact match by placing square brackets around the term. The algorithm will only consider search queries in the exact order as relevant queries for an exact match.

Phrase Match

Phrase match is a compromise between the lack of specificity of a broad-match search and the restrictive nature of an exact match type.

When using phrase-match keywords, Google Ads will show your ad on any searches related to the meaning of your keyword and close variants. Using the tennis shoes example, phrase-match keyword matching will display your ads for terms including “tennis shoe”, “buy tennis shoes”, “Nike tennis shoes”, but will not display your ad for searches for “running shoes” or “tennis bags”.

Phrase-match keywords also allow users to add extra words and other keywords and still see your ad, as long as those extra words do not change the implied meaning of your phrase. It also allows for close variants of the same keyword, giving you reach for a wider audience than exact matches but more specificity than using broad-match keywords.

The Challenges of Using Broad-Match Keywords Exclusively

The biggest concern with only using broad-match keywords is that your ad will come up in many irrelevant search results. Unlike in SEO, where having search engines mistakenly display your page to an uninterested user will have relatively minor consequences, the losses associated with unprofitable clicks can completely eliminate the value of running a PPC campaign in the first place.

For instance, if you’re a plumber that’s trying out Google Ads for plumbers for the first time, you may find that Google will recommend broad-match keywords that are irrelevant to your specialty. For instance, if your keyword is “fix a broken pipe”, you may get people looking for DIY help or who want to buy new pipes. When they click on your ad and discover that you offer plumbing services, it’s unlikely that they will want your services, but you’ll still need to pay for the ad click.

The best way of getting around this issue is to mix up your keyword match types using a process called smart bidding, which includes using various match types across your campaign. Consider using a phrase match or exact match to narrow down what search terms your ad group will target or a combination of broad and phrase match types to keep your ads visible to several search groups.

The Main Reason to Use Broad-Match Keywords

Google Ads uses the broad-match keyword type as the default for a reason: it works well for most companies with minimal investment in keyword research. But is it the right keyword match type for you? At Relentless Digital, we’ve found at least one situation where using broad-match types instead of phrase or exact matches can be extremely beneficial for contractors looking to get the most out of their ads:

Too Little Time for Intensive, Up-Front Keyword Research

Proper keyword research is time-intensive and costly, and one strategy to speed things up is to use broad-match keywords in a small, short PPC campaign. Once you’ve gathered enough data, you can use your findings to refine your phrase and exact match keywords for subsequent larger, long-term PPC campaigns using various keyword match types.

Using this real-life modeling approach has several advantages:

  • Google’s tools will often give you estimates, while a broad-match PPC campaign will give you actual, useful numbers.
  • While keyword research tools will give you an estimated number of clicks, a broad-match campaign will provide you with conversion data, and you’ll quickly identify what keywords result in sales.
  • You’ll be able to use all the irrelevant traffic to develop a comprehensive negative keyword list.

The main drawback of relying on a broad-match campaign to develop your “real” keyword strategy is that it will cost money. Every user that clicks on your ads will cost you a bid, and many of the searches will not result in conversions. However, even a short broad-match campaign can produce extremely valuable data that you can leverage into your phrase-match-based Google Ads campaign.

Getting Results Using Broad-Match Keywords

The largest issue with broad-match keywords is that it’s a “spray and pray” approach that often generates more misses than hits. Since you need to pay for every ad click, these misses can quickly add up.

However, if you don’t have the time for extensive keyword research to try out alternative keyword match types, or you’re trying out a Display campaign that doesn’t allow different match types, you’ll need to implement strategies to negate the drawbacks of using the broad match.

Use Negative Keywords

The best way to avoid getting irrelevant ad clicks when using broad-match keywords is to incorporate negative keywords.

Negative keywords tell search engines when to not show your ads against a particular query. So in our plumbing example, “fix a broken pipe,” the negative keyword “DIY” would ensure that people looking for DIY solutions would not see your ads, despite looking for answers for how to fix a broken pipe.

As with normal keywords, Google Ads has a range of negative keyword match types that work similarly to their traditional keyword match type, including:

  • Negative phrase match
  • Negative broad match

The negative broad-match type works similarly to broad match in that the algorithm will try to identify related terms when generating your negative keyword list. Using this negative match type is a good option when you’re unsure what your negative keywords should be during the initial phases of your Google Ads campaign.

Work with the Keyword Experts

If you’re a busy contractor who wants to focus on your work, you don’t have time to mess around with search engines, consider broad-match keywords, or decide between Google Ads vs. local service ads. Let our digital marketing company do the work for you!

Relentless Digital is the premier marketing company for busy contractors. We understand how difficult digital marketing can be, and we know the unique challenges contractors face trying to stand out from the crowd. Call us at (262) 393-4241 or visit our website to schedule a consultation and discover how we can take your business to the next level!