Broad Match Modifier

Google Updates Keyword Match Types & Scraps Broad Match Modifier Option

Last month, search giant Google announced changes to the way it structured keyword match types, the first update of its kind since 2019.

As you may know, keyword match types determine how closely a keyword has to match someone’s search query to trigger an ad to show, ranging from a broad match aimed at reaching more users to something more specific targeted at particular searchers.

Google previously had four keyword match types:

  • Broad match: Ads will show up on searches relating to your keywords
  • Broad modified match (BMM): Here you could specify certain words for inclusion in a search query with a + sign
  • Phrase match: Ads display on searches including your keyword and searches that include the meaning of your keyword
  • Exact match: Ads only show on searches with the precise same wording as your keyword

Towards the end of February, the phrase match type was expanded to cover a greater variety of search queries. At the same time, the modified broad match, launched back in 2010, was axed. This means that some queries no longer match, following this update.

However, Google argues that it should make it easier to manage keywords in your account and save you time. (Admittedly it has said pretty much the same thing often enough previously.)

So what do I need to do?

Google itself says no particular action is needed from advertisers, like keyword migration, for example. You can still create broad match modifier keywords until July, although you’ll probably want to stick to phrase matching from now on. However, you’ll still want to ensure campaigns are performing optimally.

So, it’s a bit of a ‘wait and see’ situation. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on Google recommendations and considering adding new keywords to increase your reach – while weeding out duplicate keywords. You might also want to take another look at your account structure – equally, keep using negative keywords to keep out the matches you don’t want.

Finally, it’s definitely worth understanding your current baseline ad campaign performance, so you can compare it as the changes roll out.

How has this change gone down in the industry?

There’s been a mixed reception. Some have argued that this is Google’s fifth change in this area since 2014, and that previous updates have caused unpredictability. This time, some say, the uncertainty could be even more marked.

If you tend to get significant traffic from modified broad match keywords, you could see a dip in ad impressions, clicks and possibly conversions, alongside reduced reach. That’s because the update may stop some keywords from matching to traffic where word order is important. What’s more, there is some feeling that this change heralds a move towards automated (or ‘smart’) bidding, which gives Google greater control.

However, if most of your traffic is derived from phrase-match keywords, you could see a rise in the same things mentioned above, potentially leading to more conversions. You may find that keywords become more flexible to reach traffic that was previously being missed. If nothing else, perhaps the simple fact of having fewer options to choose from will help save time.

Front Page Advantage can help

We have a detailed understanding of Google keyword matching and the latest updates, so are ideally placed to help, whatever industry sector you operate in and whatever the size of your organisation.

As with any change, the updates should be seen as an opportunity – and we can help you make the most of them. Get in touch today.