Google: Broad Match & Phrase Match Are (Essentially) Becoming One

Google is (currently) the most used search engine all over the globe, receiving more than 63,000 search queries every second on any given day. That’s about 10 more questions per second than a two year old!

While Google continues to cement its position on the top of the search engine pile, not all of these searches are new. In fact people keep searching the same things over and over again and only about 15% of the searches it gets every day are new.

Google uses a complex set of algorithms to crawl webpages and find relevant results for the search queries, but how it compares the searches with the specific keywords on ads is quite straightforward and easily understandable.

… There used to be three types of matching techniques Google used to compare search queries with ads’ keywords. Advertisers using Google Ads designed their ads around these techniques and everything from the keyword bidding to the auction took place around them. These three techniques included,

Exact Match

This match type allows Advertisers to reach prospects searching the exact keyword as specified in the ad. In some cases, close variants of the keywords are also considered.

Phrase Match

Phrase match lets a keyword trigger an ad only when someone searches for the exact keyword phrase. This one also considers close variants of the specified keyword phrase.

Broad Match

Broad match covers a lot more than the exact match and phrase match type and lets a keyword trigger your ad whenever someone searches for the exact phrase, similar phrases, or close variations of the specified keyword terms.

About the Changes

In late 2018, Google made a little variation with the ad match types and allowed exact match keywords to match their close variants as well. This helped advertisers reach more consumers without the need of exhaustive keyword lists.

Later last month, the match types were again updated and Google made the phrase match and broad match keywords to work in essentially the same way. Both types now match words within the search query that share the same meaning as the keywords specified in the ads. Google expects that this will improve the clicks and conversions by 3-4% and out of those increased clicks, 80% will be the ones not covered by the existing keywords previously.

Changes Illustrated

Broad match used to reach search queries that included the same keywords or its close variants without requiring the individual words to be in the same order as the specified keywords. The phrase match was although more specific and considered the order of the words as well. Now with the upgrade, since both matches will lead to queries with the same meaning as the keywords, the difference between both the match types has vanished. Here is a small example to further clarify the concept.

 

 

 

Broad Match

Broad Match Modifier Keyword

Matched Queries Before Update

Matched Queries After Update

 +toilet +cleaner

toilet floor cleaner

bathroom washing spray

toilet cleaner gel

buy toilet scrub online

 

Phrase Match

Phrase Match Modifier Keyword

Matched Queries Before Update

Matched Queries After Update

“toilet cleaner”

buy toilet cleaner online

bathroom washing spray

toilet cleaning services

buy toilet scrub online

 

There has also been a small change to the keyword selection preferences following this update in the keyword match types. If a query currently matches to an exact, phrase, or broad match modifier keyword that exists in your account, Google will prevent that query from matching to a different phrase or broad match modifier keyword that’s now eligible for the same auction as a result of this update.

According to Google, there might be some fluctuations in the traffic advertisers were receiving on their ads and there might be a need to closely monitor and adjust the campaigns according to the variation. Although, once everything settles, the traffic will come to normal.

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