Broad match: What is it good for?
Columnist Brett Middleton describes how to use broad match in paid search campaigns as a keyword research tool.
Walk into any bar (or type your way into any digital space) where PPC people are gathered, and you will find a thousand different methods for using the different match types available when adding keywords into your campaigns.
None of them are inherently wrong — ultimately, it’s the results that matter. But is there a method that can make effective use of broad match keywords without ruining our chances at a healthy cost per conversion? That’s the subject this column will cover, while also delving heavily into the area of keyword research, so get ready to have some fun.
Broad match = hunter-gatherer
We often use broad match keywords when starting paid search campaigns from scratch, as we may not intuitively know more specific searches that people might be using. Other times, we encounter a large volume of broad match keywords when we take over management on an AdWords account set up only using broad match (It happens!).
A typical next step in either of these situations would be to duplicate these keywords into exact and phrase match, then monitor them for new keyword opportunities. We might even supplement this with research from a tool like SpyFu to pull competitor keywords.
The weakness of broad match keywords is that they can be triggered by literally anything even remotely close to the keyword; when you added the broad match keyword “hammock” to your newest campaign, you probably didn’t intend for the search “banana hammock” to trigger it and show your ad. These are the sorts of hijinks that can happen when running a PPC campaign.
By now, most AdWords users know that the Search Terms report gathers search information and allows us to add keywords, or add negative keywords, from this. But using the Search Terms report, we can turn the weakness of broad match keywords into the best keyword research tool available: actual search data.