From day one at PPC school, broad match is made the enemy.

….and rightly so.Many AdWord’ers have thrown away £1000’s before realising the traffic is completely irrelevant to their business.

Many AdWord’ers have thrown away £1000’s before realising the traffic is completely irrelevant to their business.

This is called ‘Google’s stupidity tax’.

But we’re not talking about best practices today. This post’s objective is to step out of the comfortable and offer keywords strategies which deliver you the best results in your next campaign.

Here are some reasons you should consider broad match keywords:

1. Keyword research can only take you so far

Every successful PPC campaign starts with extensive keyword research. Evaluating your competitors’ most successful search terms and predicting the most profitable keywords for your business.

Sure, this approach does the job – but traditional keyword research will only get you so far.

Take a look at these stats from AdWords:

20% of searches each day are new or haven’t been completed in the last 6 months

70% of queries have no exact-matched keywords

Interesting stuff, huh?

If a search query hasn’t received an impression in the preceding 6 months, there’s roughly a 0% chance it will show up during even the most extensive keyword research.

Enter, broad match.

Broad match is the new keyword research.

It widens the keyword net, giving great insight into unbiased search queries users have entered before clicking on your ad.

These results are vital as many of these terms wouldn’t have been picked up during your traditional keyword research, and more importantly, not picked up by your competitors.

The data gained from using broad match as a research tool can completely change your pre-conceived conceptions of what profitable keywords look like – and act as a gateway to successfully altering or expanding your search campaigns in ways your competitors can’t predict.

2. Broad match bidding strategy

I know what you’re thinking… isn’t broad match expensive?

Typically, broad match receives the lowest click-through-rate (CTR) of any match type, therefore Google sees these keywords as less relevant to the searches goal and raises the cost per click.

This starts to make broad match an expensive research tool.

This is where bid adjustments are a good idea.

No one said you need to bid for the #1 spot. For the purpose of gathering data, bidding your broad match keywords to spot 3 or 4 is perfectly acceptable.

You’ll still pick up your fair share of clicks (with a good ad) and the search term report in AdWords (or google analytics if you have the 2 linked) will show you search queries that your ad impression’ed for, but no one has clicked on.

You don’t need to get clicks to get the most out of Broad Match Keyword research. Impressions can do the job.

Once you’ve discovered keywords that drive conversions, you can ad them to a new adgroup as phrase match or exact match and bid more aggressively to capitalise on the ROI.

The following can be used as a general rule of thumb when bidding on different match types:

– broad match: bid to position 3/4

– Phrase: bid to position 2/3

– Exact: bid to position 1/2

This approach allows you to discover keywords without burning through your budget, and when you’ve found those elusive long-tail gem keywords, bidding on them aggressively to ensure your company gets the click.

3. Negative Keywords

Needless to say, broach match doesn’t only help you find profitable keywords and phrases, but it quickly helps you weed out the words you do not want to be bidding on.

Without a doubt, a lot of irrelevant search terms will come through when using this broad match research technique.

Again, use the search term report to ensure you add all of these irrelevant keywords to the negative keyword list.

This negative keyword list isn’t only useful for broad match keyword research, it plays a huge part in refining your broad match modifier and phrase match keywords throughout the entirety of the campaign.

Broad match is the quickest way of discovering negative keywords than any other match type.

For small companies with a limited budget, finding out what keywords you don’t want to bid on is just as important as finding the ones you do.

4. Broad match intent

Typically, people with high purchase intent use long-tail keywords.

For example:

someone who searches for ‘shoes’ is much less likely looking to make an immediate purchase than someone who searches for ‘women’s orange running shoes’.

When it comes to using broad match it’s very important to consider intent. The most effective way to do this is to never use broad match for less than 3 words.

If you use broad match with the term “shoes” on its own, Google will bid for terms like ‘plimsolls’, ‘footwear’, ‘do horses wear shoes’ – and every other footwear related search query under the sun.

This is a sure fire way of burning through your budget and discovering no valuable keywords with high buyer intent.

However, if you use broad match with the phrase “Women’s running shoes”, Google will bid on terms like “best running shoes for girls”, “the difference between plimsolls and trainers” and “football shoes worn by Bend it Like Beckham actress”.

You’ll still get a lot of irrelevant search queries (like the last one, don’t know why I thought of that), however, the purchase intent for the long-tail broad match is going to be massively higher than the one-word searches.

This is where the real keyword gems appear, without rinsing your daily budget in 10 minutes.

Final thoughts

Broad match receives its fair share of scepticism, especially after all the horror stories of companies unknowingly setting up a campaign using broad match and watching their hard earned money disappear to irrelevant searches and no avail.

However, if used correctly, broad match can uncover some extremely profitable search trends unknown to the competition.

Keywords are the heartbeat of all PPC campaigns, and finding the right ones can be the difference between it being a success or failure. So why not give yourself the best chance and invest in some broad match keyword research at the start of your next campaign!