Pay Per Click: Beware of the Broad Match Disaster
Keywords are the foundation of a top performing pay per click campaign. But it’s not just about selecting the right words; you also need to pay close attention to the match type options for each keyword on your list.
Let’s look at an example on Google AdWords.
There are three primary match types on Google’s AdWords program: Broad, Phrase and Exact (you also have Negative match type, but we’ll save that for another post). For those not familiar with Google AdWords and the different keyword match types, here’s a quick primer:
Suppose your business offers water delivery service. One of your keywords phrases might be: water delivery
Broad match is the default match type for Google AdWords. A keyword set to Broad match means that your ad could display when a web searcher enters water and delivery – but not necessarily in that order – and with any other keywords before, after or in between these two words.
So, your ads could display for any of the following search queries:
cheap water delivery
what type of water is available in the hospital delivery room
best water delivery service
Make sense? For the sake of this example, we are also assuming the person searching is using a computer within the geographic area your ads are targeting and that you do not have any Negative keywords (like “cheap”) that would prevent the ads from displaying.
Compare this to the Phrase match setting. With Phrase match your ads will only display when a searcher types in water delivery in this order with or without other keywords before and after.
Exact match will only allow your ad(s) to display when the searcher enters your exact keywords – in the order you’ve entered them without any other words before or after the search query.
More information about the match types available in Google AdWords can be found here.
The potential disaster of using Broad match keywords unscrupulously is having your ads (regularly) display for keyword searches unrelated to your business, product or service and suffering poor account performance as a result. Without taking a couple steps, you might never know that this situation is happening.
Let’s look at an example –
Do you think that the word “aquafina” and “bottled water delivery” are synonyms?
One of the issues with Broad match keywords is that according to Google, your “ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations.” What constitutes a synonym or a relevant variation? Take a look at this screen shot – this is real client data with a filter added to Google Analytics that allows us to see both the advertiser’s keyword (on the left) and the exact search term used by the searcher (in parenthesis).
While you may not consider the word aquafina to be a synonym of bottled water delivery, Google apparently does.
This could be a good thing if your business delivers Aquafina brand water, but a disaster if you don’t. The bigger problem is that without the extra filter added to Google Analytics, you would never know that this was even happening.
It’s no wonder so many new PPC advertisers quit advertising after only a few months after experiencing poor results. If clicks for your industry are $4-5 each, think about how having too many Broad matched keywords could impact the performance of your account.
The good news is that this disaster is totally avoidable,but it requires work.
At a minimum, you have to take the following four actions:
1) You MUST use a web analytics tool to help manage the performance of your PPC account.
2) You MUST add extra filters to your web analytics tool and ensure that you can see the actual keyword used by searchers – not just the keyword you are bidding on.
3) You MUST review the paid keyword report within your analytics tool on a regular basis – sometimes daily with a new account.
4) You MUST continually update your AdWords account with things like Negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for erroneous searches.
We post regular tips about how to effectively use Search Engine Marketing to grow your business at Blue Corona SEARCH.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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