I am in love with a word. The word is “simple.” I love when things are simple. The operating manual for my life is four words; as simple as possible. And Google just made the keyword match types more simple. They are getting rid of broad match modified, and they are updating phrase match.
Last week Google announced the changes. At first I was worried. Keyword match types do not get changed often, and anything related to match types is a very big deal. Match types are how you control search terms, and search terms are the most important thing in Google Ads. Any change that affects search terms will have me worried.
But I’m no longer worried. After reviewing the documentation from Google, I’m confident that this is going to be a good change. Taking away broad match modified and updating phrase match is going to simplify the keyword match type options.
Now we’ll have exact match for narrow targeting and broad match for wide targeting; in the middle, we’ll have updated phrase match that offers both control and flexibility. This updated phrase match will give you the possibility of showing up on searches that are somewhat different in layout or wording than your keyword but have the potential to be from a search user that has the same exact intent of your keyword. This is a good thing, since intent is what matters.
I love the simplicity. If you want the most control available, use exact match and monitor your search term closely, as you’ll still probably see some search terms you want to add as negatives. If you want cheaper clicks and to try some stuff out and get volume and lots of search terms data, use broad match. And if you want control and good quality but also want to open things up and get more volume, as long as the search users’ intent matches what you’re wanting to target, use phrase match, as updated phrase match will act like a really good broad match modified.
That’s my understanding of the situation. It looks like broad match modified (which can be confusing and leave you with tough questions like which words to modify) is out, an updated phrase match is in, and the purpose of this updated phrase match is to offer the advertiser the ability to show ads on both traditional phrase match searches as well as searches that offer the same intent as your keywords. These new search terms you’ll get with phrase match will be like a strong performing broad match modified keyword in the past. That’s how I’m interpreting their documentation.
The proof will be in the pudding. We’ll have to watch for two things with updated phrase match: whether it maintains the high search term control and quality that we associate with phrase match, and whether it offers the higher volume that we associate with broad match modified. If updated phrase match does both those things, this change will be for the better because we’ll have a simple keyword structure that offers more straightforward targeting options (exact = narrow, broad = wide, and updated phrase = show my ads narrow, wide, whatever, just get me in front of people searching with the intent I’m trying to get in front of).
This update will start kicking in in mid February, any day now. I’ll be monitoring my keyword data and search terms report, looking for more volume from phrase match but also the high quality that I’m used to from phrase match. The updated match types will hopefully make all our lives simpler – fingers crossed.