Do you understand what is happening when Broad Match is selected as the match type for your keyword terms in Google AdWords? It is important to be clear so you can manage the cost of these terms carefully. You should also be aware that this is the default setting.

Here is Google’s Definition:
With broad match, your ad shows when the search query matches the keyword phrase in any order. But in addition, “Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations.”

PPC AdvertisingBasically, Google displays your ad for any search terms that they have determined (via sophisticated algorithms) are relevant to your keyword.

This can be useful in many cases. It will help you to cast a wide net and be shown on search terms that you never thought of but are highly relevant. It does not replace a good Keyword Research effort but It definitely has a place in a campaign’s start-up strategy.

But you need to watch broad-match terms very carefully. There are a couple of things you can do to keep a keen eye on your broad match terms.

Conversion Tracking
First, I highly recommend you use this match type with conversion tracking implemented. Otherwise, not only do you have no idea what your visitor typed in, you also have no idea whether it’s working for you.

Keyword Report
Look at your broad match terms for impressions and click-through-rate (CTR). Do the numbers seem reasonable to you? Are you seeing a large portion of your spend for the month on broad match terms?

Search Query Report
Make sure to check the Search Query report periodically. This report will tell you the search terms that Google is finding relevant. It does not tell you which broad-match keyword the search term was “matched” to, but it gives you a good idea of

  1. Negative terms to be added to your campaign
  2. Good search terms that were missing from your original list

As you begin to add these new search terms to your campaign, you will begin to see a reduction in your impressions and traffic for the broad term as it is redirected to the more targeted terms. This makes it easier to manage your costs.

Let me give you an example of “broad match gone wrong”. We had a campaign where we were broad matching the term “cat problems”. That term was showing a very large number of impressions. What I found is that our ads were showing for “car problems” “car crashes” and “car troubleshooting” – and what’s worse? People were clicking on our ad that was clearly geared towards solving cat problems!

We caught it, put negatives in the account and all is well.

But what if don’t have a professional PPC manager that is monitoring your account and you aren’t looking closely? You can start to see a really low CTR which hurts your quality score and increases your CPC or worse, you could spend a lot of money on wasted clicks.

This is just one of the many things we are constantly monitoring here at JumpFly to be sure our clients are spending their marketing dollars wisely.