Looking for a way to improve your Google AdWords return on investment? Consider using the Broad Match Modifier option.

If you haven’t heard about it, Broad Match Modifier enables you to target your ad for closely related keywords. It can help you achieve a higher click-through rate (CTR).

More importantly, though, it can improve your conversion rate.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of Broad Match Modifiers and explain how you can use them in your own AdWords campaigns.

Google’s Broad Match Modifier

Google’s Broad Match Modifier

Keyword Matching: What Are the Options?

When you create an AdWords campaign, you associate it with one or more keywords. Those keywords determine who will see your ad.

For example, if you’re selling home theater systems, you might target a keyword like “home theater systems on sale.”

That seems like a great idea at face value. However, Google is often too clever by half.

How so? By default, AdWords will show your ad to people who search for related expressions or similar phrases.

That’s not always a good thing because some of the people who use those related searches might not be part of your target market.

Right now, a related search for “home theater systems on sale” is “Best Buy home theater phone number.” You probably don’t want to show your ad to people using that search phrase.

That’s why Google gives you options when it comes to keyword modifiers:

  • Broad Match – The default option. Your ads will appear to people who similar search terms, related searches, misspellings, and synonyms.
  • Phrase Match – Your ads will appear to people who use the exact phrase that you specify, or one very close to it. However, it will also appear to people who use words in addition to the exact phrase.
  • Exact Match – Your ads will only appear to people who use the exact search term that you specify or one very similar to it.
  • Broad Match Modifier – Your ads will appear to people who use one or more exact words (or similar words) within the search term you specify.

How Broad Match Modifier Works

Let’s say you’re marketing inexpensive airline tickets to London. You create an ad campaign that matches on the search term “cheap flights London.”

Keep in mind, though, that’s a Broad Match by default. That means you’ll match on related searches like “cheapest time to fly to London.”

Some of those related searches aren’t used by people in your target market. You want to filter them out.

To do that, you decide to use Broad Match Modifier. You specify that the words “cheap” and “flights” must be included in the search term or your ad won’t appear.

Now, when people search for “cheap flights London” or “cheap flights to and from London,” your ad will appear. That’s exactly what you want.

Close Variants

Google also helps you out by using close variants of the words you specify in your search term. That means your ad will still appear even if users don’t specify the exact word that you identified for inclusion.

For example, if somebody searches for “cheapest flight to London,” your ad would still appear. That’s because “cheapest” is a variant of “cheap” and “flight” is a variant of “flights.”

Of course, that’s a good thing here because anyone who’s searching for the cheapest flight to London is clearly in your target market. You don’t want to lose market share just because somebody typed a plural.

Keep in mind, though, close variants aren’t synonyms. In other words, if somebody searches for “inexpensive flights to London,” your ad won’t appear. That’s because you insisted on the word “cheap” and not “inexpensive.”

In that case, you would just set up another keyword that specifies “inexpensive” instead of “cheap.”

Setting up Broad Match Modifiers

It’s easy to set up Broad Match Modifiers in Google AdWords. Start by going into your AdWords account.

On the left-hand menu, click “Keywords.” Then, click on the big plus button that you see on the main screen.

A text area will appear. Enter the keywords you want to associate with your campaign.

Here’s the important part: put a plus sign (+) in front of keywords that must be included. That’s how you specify the Broad Match Modifier.

In the example we’ve been looking at, you’d enter “+cheap +flights London” or “+inexpensive +flights London.”

Once you’re done, click “Save.”

If you already have a campaign that uses Broad Match and you want to switch it to Broad Match Modifier, that’s easy to do.

Click on “Keywords” on the left-hand menu. Then, hover over the keyword you want to update. Edit it by clicking on the pencil icon.

In edit mode, add the plus sign in front of any words in the search term that you want to modify. Click “Save” when you’re done.

Do the same thing for any other keywords you want to change.

Wrapping It Up

There’s evidence that Broad Match Modifier can improve your CTR while simultaneously reducing your CPC. Experiment with different modified keywords to see which combinations give you the best bang for your buck.

As always, put the lion’s share of your ad spend towards Ad Groups that are delivering the sales.