If you’re an Adwords advertiser, perhaps you’ve recently noticed more impressions, more clicks, and higher ad costs in your Adwords account, with no corresponding increase in sales or other conversions. Listen up to discover how this may be costing you, and how to solve it.
In a nutshell, Google Adwords broad match is “broader” than it once was. The algorithm now triggers ads for a wider variety of search queries it considers relevant to your keywords.
Problem is, they’re not always relevant.
Expanded Broad Match Can Mean Less Targeted Traffic
To quote Google’s help system: “With broad match, the Google AdWords system automatically runs your ads on relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren’t in your keyword lists.”
Though it’s nothing new for expanded broad match to show your ads for keyword terms you’re not even bidding on, what is new is that your keywords can be matched to a wider variety of terms, including single-word terms. Experienced PPC advertisers know as a general rule that single-word terms are less targeted than multi-word terms.
This change can expose your ads to a wider audience, but the traffic from those terms can be much less targeted. Which means lower CTRs, conversion rates, and quality scores, with higher CPCs and overall ad costs.
Are Your Adwords Results Being Affected?
Here’s my own personal experience: Before I discovered this, in about 3 weeks I paid over $158.00 for 170 clicks from one untargeted, single-word term that wasn’t even in my keyword list. In the past it wouldn’t happen, but the current version of expanded broad match now makes it possible.
This could be hampering your Adwords results too, without your knowledge. But it’s easy to find out, and there are multiple ways to fix it.
How To Optimize Your Broad Match Keywords
First step is to determine which actual keywords are triggering your Adwords ads. You can do this with Google’s “Search Query Performance Report” feature, under the “Reports” tab in your Adwords account.
As you examine the report, look at the broad match terms in the “Search Query” column. Look for single-word terms and others that aren’t well matched to your product, service, or offer.
For the next step, you have a few options. Some avoid using broad match keywords entirely, focusing only on phrase and exact match. However, that can also filter out desirable, targeted traffic.
You can strike a balance between the two extremes by using broad match along with a well-researched list of negative keywords. Even if you’re already using one, as I was, I suggest updating it periodically.
In addition to Google’s “Search Query Performance Report” feature, you can use their Keyword Tool (in your Adwords account), to find more terms the Google system considers relevant to your keywords. Use irrelevant terms you find as negative keywords.
Keep in mind that negative phrase match and negative broad match are available options, but if used incorrectly can also filter out targeted traffic. For more precise control, use negative exact match.
For example: -[keyword] will block your ad from showing when ‘keyword’ is used in a search query by itself, but will not block it when used with other words in a query.
By refining your broad match keywords with these tips, you can gain a number of benefits: Higher CTRs, increased conversion rates, reduced click costs, improved profitability, and better ad performance than those of competing advertisers who don’t know about, or don’t address, this issue.
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