Dear WMQA --
I've read bloggers on line saying to only run terms on Google using exact match. And I've read the opposite -- only run terms on broad. Which idea is more correct?
Good question, as we’ve discussed recently (Broad Match a Change for the Worse, Broad Match Controls), matchtypes are an important and complex piece of the puzzle. We believe the answer to your question is to use both broad and exact matchtypes. Done correctly, you can capture the benefits of more precise targeting, while also getting the most exposure on likely relevant searches that don’t match your keywords exactly.
It’s no surprise that exact match keyword variations typically hold higher CTRs and CRs since the ads creative and destination url are all geared towards that identical user query. It’s also easier to manage these keywords from an efficiency standpoint for the same reasons. The downside to using exact matchtype exclusively is traffic volume. No advertiser will ever be able to capture all variations of keywords that appropriately lead consumers to their site. In fact, anyone that has studied search query logs can tell you there are thousands of non-exact queries using misplaced characters, superlatives, and an overwhelming amount of misspellings. (Let’s face it, the English language is complex!)
This leads us to the use of broad and even phrase matchtypes. The clear pro of the expanded matchtype versions is gaining incremental qualified traffic. As I mentioned before, it’s impossible to generate every keyword variation, and much of the traffic that would be “lost” is captured by expanded matchtypes. The con is gaining incremental unqualified, unwanted traffic. Google’s systems do their best to determine meaningful, appropriate matches to user’s queries, however these don’t always match the advertiser’s desires. Google understands this effect, and last year released their Search Query Performance Report to help advertisers identify both qualified and unqualified search queries triggering your ads. Run these reports, add unwanted search queries as negatives and add meaningful search queries as new keywords to your campaigns. This will allow you to maximize the visibility into wanted and unwanted traffic.
George is lobbying Google to get more and better controls for matching alternates at today’s Google SEM Council of Advisors meeting.
An interesting note about the use of these two more expansive matchtypes used in conjunction with one another. Google cautions against using broad and phrase matchtypes for the same keyword simultaneously.
Let’s assume you’re running the keyword ‘discount furniture’ on each exact, phrase, and broad matchtypes. The exact version will work appropriately when paired with the phrase or broad matchtype, and Google will choose to serve the exact version when the query is identical to the keyword. When discussing phrase and broad matchtypes competing against one another, it becomes much more difficult for any algorithm to serve one ad version over another. For our ‘discount furniture’ example, suppose the user queries ‘best discount furniture’. Both the phrase and broad matchtype versions of the keyword meet Google’s standards for display. To avoid any confusion in tracking results by keyword and matchtype, use broad or phrase, but avoid the use of both simultaneously.