Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | Uncategorized | February 20, 2014

Further Defense of Broad Match: Friend, Not Foe

For my first Digital Reach blog, I’m going to bring us back to a topic that we’ve covered before but I feel deserves further defense.  That’s right, let’s revisit broad match keywords!

Consider this scenario: You’ve loved comic books ever since you were a kid. You finally decided to turn your childhood dreams into a reality by opening up your own comic book shop. Business is going great, and you decide to branch out and pursue online advertising in your local area to promote your store. You’ve always made great sales on your vast collection of back issue comics, so you decide to try out the keyword “back issue comics” using broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

Phrase match and exact match are converting well for you, but broad match is a different story. The maw of the budget-consuming beast (read: broad match) seems to be a sinkhole for your dollars. This seems like an easy fix, right? Just pause your broad match keywords and let your phrase/exact match keywords keep running, right?

In most cases we’ve seen, the answer is no.  In my opinion, people give up on broad match much too quickly. Yes, broad match can waste a ton of money, but not if you’ve learned how to optimize it properly. When effectively controlled, broad match can actually drive higher levels of relevant traffic than phrase match and exact match combined.

Before you shut off broad match keywords, run a search term report. You do this by selecting the Keywords tab within Adwords, and clicking the Details dropdown box where you will see the Search Terms options. You can run search term reports on any level, whether it’s for the traffic in an entire campaign or for a specific keyword.

To run a search term report, simply select the campaign or ad group where you’d like to run the report, and then click the dropdown box Details → All. This will run a report that includes every keyword within that campaign or ad group for whatever date range you’ve selected (I generally run search term reports every two weeks, but it all depends on how much traffic your campaign is generating). Campaigns with higher levels of traffic need more frequent search term reports.

Now, back to your comic book shop: you run a search term report for “Back Issue Comics” on broad match, and you come up with a list that looks something like this:

  • Where do I buy back issue comics?

  • Chiropractic back issues

  • Books on back pain

  • Back issue comic books

  • Back issue marvel comics

  • What pills should I take for back issues?

No wonder broad match was hemorrhaging money! You’re bringing in traffic for two different industries, back pain issues and back issue comics. Now, all you have to do is add negative keywords to your campaign for words like “pain” or “chiropractic” or “doctor.” Adding those negative keywords will block out any traffic having to do with medical-related “back issues.”

One reason why broad match is amazing is that it’s impossible to think of each way that a searcher could enter a search query for the product/service that you are selling. Google itself says that 16% of the daily searches on Google are ones that have never been searched before.

As I mentioned before, broad match easily drives in the highest levels of traffic to your campaign. If you manage it properly and make sure that all of the traffic is relevant, then broad match may transform from being a sinkhole for money into a cash cow.

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