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Over the years, broad match keywords developed a bad reputation for driving low quality traffic and serving on low quality search terms. It should be no surprise that advertisers avoid this match type altogether. Even, two of the most popular builds don’t use this match type all together: Single keyword Ad Groups (SKAG) and alpha-beta build. But that’s not to say it should be avoided completely. In some cases, it might outperform these two builds but definitely there is room for it to support your overall search strategy by identifying new keyword opportunities and drive incremental conversions.

The importance of identifying better keyword opportunities

First off, I’m not making a case that advertisers should exclusively use broad match keywords, but rather we test them regularly and incorporate some aspect of it into our search marketing strategy. This is due to the fact that broad match keywords have the farthest reach and can save a lot of time thinking of every possible keyword variation. Also, they have the ability to serve on search terms that even modified broad cannot reach.

It is estimates that roughly 20 percent of daily searches are ones that haven’t been searched in at least 90 days. The unpredictable search behavior makes it impossible to create keyword lists for only exact match keywords. On top of that, minimizes the “low search volume” keyword status headache advertisers face when building keyword lists.

Incorporating Broad Keywords into Your Paid Search Strategy

Anchored Modified Broad Match

Different types of broad match keywords and other match types

If you’re like most retail marketers, chances are you are bidding on

[brand] + [product]/[other suffix]

Generally, you would segment ad groups by categories or even product names or other terms. However, if you anchor your brand with a “+” modifier and let your product categories or product name run freely on broad, then you can capture more search traffic as it relates to your branded terms.

Of course, you don’t have to only use this on your own branded terms. This can be extended over to your competitors branded terms (if you do bid on competitors). This will extend your reach even further than regular BMM, Phrase, or Exact would hope to reach.

Another strategy for non-brand effort that may require a certain prequalifying term in the search query, then this might be a particular nice strategy by anchoring that prequalifying term and let the rest of the keyword run freely on broad.

Reach for the Stars: Bidding in Pure Broad

One nifty trick is to include broad keywords into SKAG builds. While, it semi-defeats the purpose of a SKAG grouping, surprisingly it sometimes works. This is most likely due to adding them after the initial work is done with the search query analysis, adding negative keywords, bid changes, ad copy testing, and performance is more or less where I want it to be at. Just add 1 broad keyword as a topping and let the results build.

Adding 1 broad keyword to the SKAG grouping

RLSA + Broad Keywords

If you are using Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) and have not tried broad only keyword campaigns with a remarketing list you are missing out. For starters, you have:

  1. Some control of which related keywords your ads serves on.
  2. Control over how your ad is written, not just the description lines.
  3. Control over the landing pages that you see fit.

These types of campaigns allow more options than just DSA could do. Just remember to add negative keywords for your existing keywords to extend your reach on what your existing site visitors might be searching for in relationship to your keywords.

Automated Bidding Using Broad Match Keywords

Layering a Target CPA onto campaigns with broad match keywords is definitely one of the most interesting search hacks I have seen to date. This is because, the AdWords algorithm takes into consideration a user’s search queries rather than the keyword. This is especially beneficial for optimizing bids on broad match keywords, where a wide variety of search queries may match to a single keyword.

This means AdWords bids differently depending on the search query, in real time, so it automatically curates search queries that broad match keywords would capture and goes after more likely convert terms within your target CPA goal.

Wait, what about quality scores?

AdWords quality score examples

Results vary, but it’s still possible to have high QS despite serving on a wide reach of search terms, although rare as the example above, it’s nice to see that unicorn QS 10 for a non-branded broad match keywords still roaming out there.

*Results may vary