3 Reasons You Should be Using Broad Match Keywords


It’s a common misconception that using broad match keywords in PPC campaigns will always result in out of control spend and loads of unqualified traffic; when used correctly, however, broad match keywords can be some of the most successful keywords in an account.  Deciding if broad match keywords are right for your account?  Here are three reasons why you should think about using them:

1.)    Increase in traffic

This reason is obvious – having broad match keywords in your account is going to increase the number of visits your campaigns will receive.  People often get too stuck in the mindset that broad match keywords are bad, and therefore limit the potential of their AdWords accounts by not adding any broad match keywords to them.  If you’re spending time (and money) ramping up bids on exact and phrase match keywords trying to increase their positions to increase the traffic they receive, it may end up being more cost effective to implement some broad match keywords.  Broad match keywords are also an extremely effective way to build brand awareness, reaching a wider audience to get your name out in front of more people.  If awareness is one of your PPC goals, then broad match keywords are right up your alley.  Remember, however, that broad match keywords should be implemented correctly and efficiently, or else they could run wild.

2.)    Keyword Discovery

Broad match keywords can be a great way to find new keywords to add to your campaigns, due to the fact that they have the ability to capture traffic in response to a wider variety of search queries than exact and phrase match keywords.  Make sure to keep up with search query reports in AdWords to see which searches triggered your ads, as these searches can spark great ideas for long-tail keywords or different keyword phrase variations.  One of my favorite benefits of the search query report is its ability to expose typos and/or misspellings that triggered some of my broad match keywords.  Misspellings are something that should be implemented in every PPC account, and a great way to discover all the different types of variations is through search query reports.  While phrase match keywords can also be an effective way to discover some long-tailed keywords, they won’t do you any good in discovering typos or misspellings of your keywords.

3.)    There ARE Limitations Possible

Many advertisers often forget this reason when considering broad match keywords in their account – they forget that there ARE limitations to broad match.  While the word “limitation” often carries a negative connotation with it, it can actually be a very positive thing when it comes to the broad match keyword.  One way to have more control over your broad match keywords and limit their reach is to implement negative keywords, something that EVERY AdWords account should have.  Here is where Google’s search query report is going to come in handy again – just as I referenced using the report to find additional keyword variations, you’ll also want to use it to find negative keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up in response to.

Another way to limit the reach of your broad match keywords is to use the broad match modifier.  This is a great way to have enough control over your broad match keywords but still allow them to have that extended reach they’re useful for.  If you’re not familiar with the broad match modifier, it’s something you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.  While a standard broad match keyword can show up for a search that Google deems relevant to the keyword, the broad match modifier allows you to set which word(s) in the keyword phrase are required to be part of the search query in order for the keyword to be triggered.  The modifier is easy to use – simply add a “+” sign in front of the word or words of the keyword that you’ll require to be part of the user’s search query.  For example, if you have the broad match modified keyword “+girls +dressy +shoes,” this keyword could be triggered from the search “dressy shoes for girls” or “girls dressy shoes,” but not for the search “girls shoes,” since you set a modifier before the word “dressy.”

Remember that the type of keywords you should use within your campaigns is really up to your overall goals and what works well for your account.  Broad match keywords may or may not work well for your particular account, but when used correctly they can often be a great way to generate conversions.  It’s important not to rule anything out right off the bat without taking all the possibilities into consideration.

How have you successfully used broad match keywords in your campaigns? Share your comments below.

Brittany is a former LunaMetrician and contributor to our blog.

  • Hi Brittany,

    I agree that broad match and especially broad match modified have their roles in certain campaigns. Always case by case, but they can be utilized effectively through negatives and correct adcopy.

    I am especially pleased with the use of BMM so far, it’s been a nice weapon when it comes to match types.

    And there’s no doubt you can find some other strong terms when broad match is used. The search query reports can be very helpful for finding some gems. Now if we could only get rid of those “broad-session” clicks 🙂


  • Great PPC campaign tips Brittany! I like the special mention on negative keywords.

  • It seems like the misconception that broad keywords are too wild implies this sense that more effort is required on the side of the optimizer. The truth is that proper optimization is usually a lot of work regardless of which types of keywords are in your account.

    Another benefit to broad keywords is that they set a greater impression share and allow you to optimize to a greater pool of visitors than is set by more exclusive match types. The “Exact match IS” metric column almost allows for dual keyword optimization anyway.

  • I like the helpful information you supply for your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check once more here frequently. I’m relatively sure I’ll be informed a lot of new stuff proper here! Good luck for the next!

  • Broad match keywords are great when you’re trying to get a lot of traffic for a variety of keywords. With SEO, it can be hard to rank well for every keyword scenario and thats where PPC campaigns come in. 🙂

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