During account creation for AdWords you are shown a very simple box where you are instructed to type in your keywords one to a line. Google isn’t stupid, so they don’t tell you about match types here. They just want you to throw a few keywords in the box and by default these keywords will be set to broad match. The 3rd Deadly Sin is Carelessness through only using broad match keywords.
Why Is Broad Match Bad?
Broad match in and of itself is not bad. Using it exclusively is a deadly sin. The reason is two-fold. First, broad match is naturally designed to cast a very broad net. Anyone who includes the term, or its variations as determined by Google, may trigger your ad. This can be great in some circumstances, but also can show your ad for something absolutely unrelated. For example, you bid on shoes (since you sell athletic and dress shoes) but Google thinks that slippers are related to shoes and shows you ad (which is absolutely irrelevant).
Secondly, and more importantly given the economy today, is Google’s motivation. You see, Google makes billions of dollars from AdWords and people are starting to cut back on their ad spend. To keep their revenues meeting Wall Street expectations Google is loosening up the algorithm on broad match to show more ads and make more money. And no, they don’t care if your ads get worthless clicks as long as they get paid. I manage numerous AdWords accounts and I’m seeing it firsthand. If you don’t believe me check out the PPCProz blog and Perry Marshall’s take.
What Are Match Types?
Match type is how Google determines if your ad should be shown for a particular search query. The following is taken from AdWords help:
- Broad Match: keyword
Allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations
- Phrase Match: “keyword”
Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase
- Exact Match: [keyword]
Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively
- Negative Match: -keyword
Ensures your ad doesn’t show for any search that includes that term
And in case you were wondering, broad match is the default.
This one is easy. All you have to do is edit your keywords to add quotations or brackets and change the match type. I’ve seen greatly improved results as I’ve implemented this and if you see the same, drop a comment.