In February, Google announced yet another change to the structure of its keyword match types. Modified broad match is going away. This is the 5th time Google has made updates to the keyword match types. Some are saying these changes are positives and others are looking at them in an unfortunate negative light. What does it mean for you, your business or your clients?

What are Match Types?

There are (well were) 4 kinds of match types within Google Ads. These deal with how your keywords can trigger an ad to show:

  1. Broad Match
  2. Modified Broad Match
  3. Phrase Match
  4. Exact Match

For the purpose of this blog, just know that each type has their own stipulations as to which words are focused on within a search query. You may not have even differentiated much with your keywords especially since users said that modified broad match and phrase match were often interchangeable and served the same purpose. Not that it matters now, but within modified broad match keywords, you would choose specific keywords that are required for your ad to show, through the use of a plus sign. The ads would only show for queries that contain all of the words you used with a plus sign in your keyword or phrase. Order did not matter.

Why This Matters

The big takeaway right now is that order will matter for how you place your keywords. Google will treat keywords as a phrase match type, but will expand it to cover the modifier traffic. In Google’s example below, the updated phrase match will not show ads for search queries in the opposite direction.

+moving +services +NYC +to +Boston may show up for the search query “moving services NYC to Boston.” Previously, the ad may also display when someone searches “moving services Boston to NYC,” which won’t help the advertiser because the searcher is moving in the opposite direction.

This change could save you time in the long run as it eliminates a step in building out an ad. It is time-consuming to put together all of the different keyword requirements per ad. But it could also cause an issue in that your keywords may not mean the same thing as what you want searched. An example provided by Allison Day, WordStream’s Lead Acquisition Specialist, is that “get more Google ads” does not mean the same thing as “get more conversions on Google ads.” Additionally, due to the change, your traffic could fluctuate. This is to be expected. Just keep that in mind and make adjustments to your new ads moving forward. We are all dealing with the same change so more information will surely come out about new strategies. 

What Do I Have To Do?

Nothing right now if you are comfortable with that. In July, after this change has rolled out worldwide, advertisers won’t be able to create new modified broad match keywords. The current ones that are used will basically be grandfathered into the new behaviors. But really, keep alert to how this change does affect your ads and keyword searches in the coming months. Continue to use those negative keywords to block out bad traffic. You can also take the time now to revisit your account structure and potentially move around your ad spend budgets to make sure you aren’t focusing on modified broad searches.

Does this change make a difference for you, your business or your clients? If you aren’t sure or have questions on how to make sure your keywords are spot on, you can always ask us as we try to stay on top of all changes that affect our clients best interests.