Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, SEO | December 22, 2015

Advanced Match Types Part 2: Broad Match Modifiers

Hello Fellow Advertisers!


Welcome to another episode of my SEM & PPC Advertising Advanced Match Types video blog series! Today part 2 of our discussion about advanced keyword targeting is on the docket, and it’s focused on broad match modifiers. I’ll go over the pros and cons,  and strategies for building keyword lists using BMMs. I’ll also provide an example that you’ll be able to follow for building a list for your own products/services. If you can’t watch the whole video we’ve also included a complete transcript below.

Happy Advertising!

Full Transcript:

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I am your host, Nick Rennard, and today we will be talking about SEM and PPC Advertising Advanced Match Types, Part 2. Last week, we talked a little bit about brand name and this week I’m going to be delving more into some of the advanced strategies for different match types that we can be using. Specifically, today we will be talking about broad match modifiers. Let’s dive into it.

Alright, so broad match modifier, abbreviated as BMM, is one of the four different match types that we can be using on ad words. These are the four ones that we can use. The first one is called true Broad match. Second one is called a broad match modifier. Third one is phrase match and the fourth one is exact match. The differences between these, not to be too elementary here, but we’ll go over it for anyone who doesn’t know some of these yet.


True broad match is, you’re allowing Google to…if you’re bidding on a keyword like shoes, or let’s say red shoes. Let’s use red shoes as an example. If you’re bidding for red shoes on true broad match, you’re allowing Google to think of any kind of synonyms for red or shoes so they might show you for blue high heels or pink slippers or there’s a lot of other…anything that could be kind of in the category of a colored footwear, Google is going to show you for. True broad match is very generic. It’s very broad. It leaves it open to Google’s interpretation of what kind of keywords they think you want to be showing for, based on the keyword that you have uploaded, which can have pros and cons, but we’ll talk about those later.


The second one is called broad match modifier. Broad match modifier is what we’re going to be talking about today and is very similar to true broad match. The only difference is that it forces the keyword to be in the actual search query. If you have +red+shoes as your keyword, then you cannot show your ad to any search queries that don’t have the word red and the word shoes in that search query. If someone looks up pink shoes or violet shoes or if someone looks up red slippers or red high heels, none of those are going to trigger for +red+shoes because red and shoes are not in that search query. If someone looks up buy red shoes online or where can I find nice red shoes or the words could also be separated. It doesn’t have to be together like that. If someone says where can I buy shoes that are also red, you could show it for that because red and shoes are in the search query.


Phrase match is, the way that that works is, let’s say we’re using red shoes again, the phrase red shoes has to be in it. Those words have to be together. Phrase match can be very useful. Sometimes when you mix words around using broad match modifiers or true broad match, they don’t necessarily make sense. Something like customer service can mean something very different than those two words switched around, service customer. That’s true in a lot of different industries where when you switch the two words around, all of a sudden, they don’t make sense or they mean something else in a different industry. Phrase match is useful if you want to make sure that they’re keeping the same order, but that phrase can also be anywhere within the keyword. If someone says where can I buy red shoes, if you have red shoes on phrase match, since red and shoes are still together in the same phrase, that search query would still trigger. If you were to look up where can I buy shoes that are red, red shoes are not together in the same phrase, so it will not trigger. You kind of get the difference there.


Then exact match is very simple. It just has to match it exactly, so if they type in anything else besides red shoes exactly into their search query, then your ads are not going to show for it.


Let’s move on. The pros and cons. Again, we’re talking about just broad match modifiers today. We’re going to delve into the other ones as well, but broad match modifiers, the pros, the first one here, it says only triggers for search queries using keywords that you specify. That can be very useful, because I personally don’t really trust Google to come up with synonyms and anything like that for the keywords that I’m searching for, because you’ve got to remember that Google is a business and a business’ number one priority is making money. Google, I wouldn’t call them an unethical business by any means, but they will be kind of looser with your terminology than I think you would be, since it’s your money coming out of your pocket.

I think that broad match modifiers are great because you can control, like in the red shoes example, you can make sure that you’re only showing for certain different product types. Maybe you sell athletic shoes but not high heels. If you were to put athletic shoes on true broad match, you would show for all different kinds of shoes. If you put athletic shoes on a broad match modifier, like +athletic+shoes, then you’re only going to be showing for search queries that have athletic and shoes in it, so you can’t be showing for anything that says high heels.

Another pro. It’s a nice middle ground between broad match and then also phrase and exact match. Broad match, I’ve read countless articles and blogs about how broad match is a huge waste of money. I’ve written some blogs myself about how you can optimize using broad match and also how broad match can be a money sink and there’s a lot of truth to that. I like broad match modifiers because on the inverse side of things, I think that phrase match and exact match can also be way too granular, especially when you’re wanting to spend a large amount of money.

This is actually really relevant around the holidays because we have a lot of clients who tell us, “I want to be spending a ton of money, I want to be showing up in the number one position, I want 100% impression share”. The only way that you can be doing all of those things at once is by spending a lot of money. Using phrase and exact match, you might not be triggering enough search queries to be able to spend that density of money. Broad match modifiers are a nice middle ground to be able to spend a whole entire budget without your traffic getting too watered down using true broad match.

The last note here, this is just a personal preference, I personally think that broad match modifiers are the best and most profitable match type. There are uses for the other ones as well, but I think at being good at uploading keywords using broad match modifiers is much more important than being good with phrase match or exact match or true broad match.


Some of the cons of broad match modifiers. It requires a high attention to detail when you’re building your keyword list. It just has to do with how you put the words together and we’re going to go over that in a second here, but just be aware that when you build a list of keywords using broad match modifiers, you have to be aware that it is still using some of the elements of broad match, so it’s easy for your keywords to bleed over into other industries. You need to be careful with how you build your keyword list and make sure that you’re not bidding on traffic for search queries that are potentially not relevant to the product that you’re trying to sell.

The other con here I said and this actually just expands off of what I said first, due to overlapping industry terms, running search term reports and adding negative keywords will be very necessary. Since some of those industry terms are going to overlap here and there, you have to be very certain that you’re running your search term reports and that you’re adding negative keywords because, I wouldn’t even say that there’s a chance. I’d say that it’s probably a 100% chance that you’re going to come across some bad search queries and you’re going to come across some industries that kind of overlap with the keywords that you’re trying to bid on. Using broad match modifiers, it’s very important that you’re attentive to your search term reports and that you add negative keywords to block out bad traffic.


Moving on. Strategy for building keyword lists using broad match modifiers. Okay, I have, I think there’s six steps here. There was five and then I added the search term reports because I forgot that one. Six steps here. The first one, I call it combining nouns and adjectives. The noun is the product itself and the adjective is the descriptive term of the product that specifies the type of product. The example that we’re going to go over in a second here is building out a keyword list for anti-virus software. The noun itself, or the product itself, it’s software, right? If you just bid on the keyword software, obviously there’s millions of different types of software out there. That’s a perfect example of where you’re going to have overlapping keywords.

If you bid on the keyword software with the broad match modifier, so +software, you’re bidding on software across all other industries that sell software, so not just anti-virus but also gaming software or every kind of software out there. That’s why we have to combine it with adjectives because the adjectives are what specifies the type of product, so by bidding on a keyword like anti-virus software, that immediately makes it, because we’re using the correct adjective there, we’re making it so that it makes sense. I’m not really phrasing that correctly, but we want to combine the nouns and the adjectives so that the keyword that we’re bidding on is very specific and it’s not overlapping or bleeding into other industries. Again, we’re going to go over this in a second, so just bear with me here.

The second step here is synonyms. We have to build out a full list of synonyms for your products in the keywords that specify what type of product it is. When we take the keyword anti-virus software, there are other words for the word software and there are other words for the word anti-virus. You have a keyword like anti-virus. You could also have anti-malware or anti-spyware. You get the idea. If you take the word software, there’s other words for the word software, like program, application. Literally, just go to Google and type in synonyms of software and I’m sure you’ll get a whole list of them that you can use. Trust me, I use that a lot. I literally Google synonyms of keywords to make sure that we’re covering all of our bases, so if someone is selling high-quality windows, I Google synonyms for words like premium or high quality or words like that so that way we’re covering all of our bases of those keywords.

Remember, broad match modifier keywords will not show unless you have the actual keyword in the search query, so you need to make sure that you’re bidding on all the different search queries that you think are relevant to your industry and if you’re missing one, then you’re not going to show for it.

Then what we do is, once we have our list of synonyms of our adjectives and nouns, we combine them together using a keyword builder tool. You can go to Google and look up, there’s plenty of free programs out there where you can type in a set of words and then a set of other words and it will combine them all together. I’ll show you how that works in a second here as well.

Fourth step, organize your keywords. That’s for structural purposes. When you’re building out an ad words campaign, you’ll need to organize it into ad groups, so it’s important that you organize your keywords.

The fifth step here is to filter out bad, nonsensical keywords. We’re going to cover that in a second as well. I’ll have an example of it later.

The last step report. Again, this is one that I almost left out, but this is our sixth step, search term reports. Once you have data, you need to run search term reports and we’ll cover that as well.


Let’s do this example. Using the anti-virus software example that I was talking about, let’s start with our nouns. We have software, synonyms for software, program, service, system, application, anything that you can think of that, if you were selling an anti-virus software and you’re thinking about the things that people could type into Google that would potentially be relevant to the product that you’re trying to sell, come up with a list of those nouns and set them aside.

The second one here is your adjectives, so the things that describe the software. Anti-malware, anti-virus, protection software. Come up with your list of adjectives and set those aside. You’re going to use your keyword builder tool. Again, you just Google those, find them. There’s plenty of free ones out there. You combine your nouns with your adjectives. Again, you see all these plus signs in front of these keywords here, like anti. That’s the broad match modifier. That’s telling Google that this keyword has to be in the search query in order for you to show.

This is the combination here at the list at the bottom, is the combination of the nouns and the adjectives, so anti-malware software, anti-malware program, anti-malware service, anti-malware system, etc., etc., etc. Then it does the same for anti-virus or anti-spyware. At the end here, we have protection software, protection program, protection application, etc. You come up with your list of keywords and this is actually what I’m building at a campaign. This process right here is what takes me the most time. You have to be very careful with the nouns and adjectives that you put together, again because it overlaps with other industries, but also because you want to make sure that you’re covering all your bases so that you’re not missing out on potential good traffic for your products.

Here’s our list of keywords right here. The fourth step here is to organize our keywords. In this example here, usually I do it based off of keywords, so I might have a section for malware, I might have a section for virus. It really depends on the type of ad that you want to write because the only reason that we separate keywords into separate ad groups is because we want to have different ads for them. Maybe you would want to have a different ad written for someone who looks up the word anti-virus versus someone who looks up protection software. Maybe you’d want to have something more generic for protection software and something more specific for anti-virus. That’s up to you and that really has more to do with writing the ads than it does with the keywords themselves. We won’t go too far into that, but that’s the reason that we organize our keywords into different ad groups.

Once you’ve organized them into different ad groups, you want to make sure that you filter out bad keywords. When you go about creating a list of nouns and adjectives and combining them all together, a lot of the times you’re going to get a list of nine trillion keywords. That’s an exaggeration. You’ll get a list of a lot of keywords. Let’s say there’s 700 keywords that you get. That’s not too unreasonable. I think the longest list I’ve ever done is 20,000 that I’ve ever uploaded, but that’s a lot of keywords to sort through. I guarantee you that you are going to have some of those keywords be bad, bad, bad keywords.

Even in this example here where we only have like 10 or 20 keywords, I can see some of these keywords being bad. Protection service, +protection+service, I think that that could overlap into bodyguard type stuff. Protection is so open-ended that, yes, it’s an adjective for the product that you’re selling, but the fact that protection can overlap into so many different industries, like security, condoms, anti-virus, there’s all types of, dog protection, there’s all kind of protection applications to different industries. Same thing with service. Literally everything is either a product or a service, so if you’re in the service industry and someone looks up the word service, then you’re bidding on that keyword. This is a keyword that I would be very careful with and I would be more inclined to keep protection service as its own noun. Even though it’s two words, you could still have that as a noun so that you’re attaching protection service to more specific keywords like anti-malware, anti-virus, anti-spyware, maybe computer protection service might be a good keyword, but protection service by itself might be a little to open-ended.

You do have to do this manually. You have to come through here, read all of your keywords and make sure that they make sense and you have to think about your keywords, make sure that they make sense before you upload them. That’s pretty much the step there, so that you’re not bidding on something that’s too open-ended.


The last thing here, search term reports. Again, you are going to have some keywords that just generate traffic that’s not great for you. It’s just going to happen. Make sure you’re doing search term reports. Make sure you’re adding negative keywords to block out industry traffic and, yeah, that’s the process for doing that. Let me go back here. That’s pretty much all there is to it. I’m going to be going a little more advanced in the next episode, because I’m going to be talking about how we can combine true broad match with broad match modifiers, which is a technique that is fairly unorthodox, but it’s something that I use from time to time, depending on the type of product that I’m bidding on.

Stay tuned and thanks for watching this episode and I’ll be doing a couple more episodes covering that and also phrase match and exact match for those of you that would like some tips and tricks on how to best utilize those. I will see you guys next week.

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