How to Improve Your PPC Efforts by Implementing Broad Match Modifier Keywords

keyword types

One of the most exciting aspects of online advertising is the capability to conduct on-the-fly A B testing, but if you are unaware of how to effectively test with broad match modifier you could be missing a big opportunity to reach a larger audience.

According to Google, broad match modifier lets you create keywords that reach more people than phrase match and give you more control than broad match. The reason why so many advertisers are unaware of broad match modifier is because on Google’s options of match types, it is unlisted. Only broad match, exact match and phrase match are listed (although with the new Google release, exact match will soon become extinct).

Because of Google recent change to exact match, understanding broad match modifier becomes even more important.

How to Use Broad Match Modifier

How exactly do you set broad match modifier up? It’s simple, just put a plus symbol (+) directly in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. Each word preceded by a + has to appear in your potential customer’s search exactly or as a close variant.

To provide you a crystal clear example, different apartment communities in Brentwood, Tennessee, West End Nashville, Uptown Charlotte and South Congress in Austin implemented broad match modifier keywords into their Google Adwords campaigns.  The rental communities wanted to see if they received more traffic from the same keyword variations with broad match modifier versus phrase match.

+West +End +Nashville +Apartments = Broad Match Modifier
“West End Nashville Apartments” = Phrase Match

+South +Congress +Apartments = Broad Match Modifier
“South Congress Apartments” = Phrase Match

If you mainly use exact (not for much longer) and phrase match keywords, adding modified broad match keywords to your campaign can help you get more clicks and conversions at an ROI comparable to that of your phrase match keywords.

In the Nashville example above, which is a longer tailed search query; nearly double the traffic came from the broad match modifier versus the phrase match. Let’s say someone was searching for “Apartments in West End Nashville” the search query for the broad match modifier would appear in your results whereas the phrase match would not. The same goes for the “South Congress Apartments.” When potential renters were looking for “Apartments Near South Congress,” the broad match modifier search query appeared. With broad match modifier the words can appear in whatever order where phrase match you are limited to words appearing before or after the search query.

If you don’t feel comfortable implementing broad match modifier to your campaign, Acquisio’s Google Adwords Modified Broad Match Keyword Tool is a great first step. If your strategy thus far has primarily been exact and phrase match keywords, you’ll be amazed by how many more search queries appear once you implement broad match modifier!

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving,” famously quoted David Ogilvy, the Father of Advertising. Applying broad match modifier keywords to your online advertising campaign and assessing the results can help you see dramatic improvements, just as Mr. Ogilvy suggested.

Jason Parks

Jason Parks

Jason Parks is the President and Founder of The Media Captain and Cleveland Marketing King, two digital marketing and development agencies based in Ohio. He's a VIP Contributor for and has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News and Search Engine Watch on digital-marketing topics. Jason's agencies have helped hundreds of businesses increase their online exposure.

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