Reduce Wasteful Pay Per Click with Broad Match Modifiers

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ppc-advertisingWhen it comes to pay per click advertising, it’s well known that broad keywords tend to generate more traffic. In fact, one-third of Google ad clicks and conversions come from broad match keywords. But attracting large volumes of visitors to your website doesn’t always mean that they’re high quality—in fact, low quality clicks can be a severe detriment to your campaign.

Broad match keywords not only tend to be expensive, but they also tend to produce relatively poor conversion rates. Perhaps you’ve already tried adding broad keywords to your Google AdWords campaign and have even added negative search terms to your key phrases to refine it by eliminating irrelevant clicks. But large volumes of visitors doesn’t necessarily equate to high quality visitors. The traffic boost will look good on paper, but hundreds of clicks originating from tangential keywords can cost you money that could be better spent in other ways.

Be “Broadly Specific”
Fortunately, you can still cast a smaller, more specific net with Google AdWords’ broad match keyword function by using broad match keyword modifiers. This way, rather than disabling all of your broad match keywords (and potentially missing out on clicks, traffic, and sales) you can activate a more specific modifier that can  increase your campaign’s performance without having to reduce your triggering keywords to a select few niche phrases.

By inserting a “+” in front of a word or key phrase, Google AdWords will look for that word in organic searches before the ad is delivered (and, of course, before you pay for it). In addition, the broad keyword modifier will also catch word variants such as plurals, alternate spellings, and abbreviations. zz

A Coffee Shop is Not a “Shop”
How would a marketer specifically utilize this function? Let’s say that you run a local coffee shop in Toledo, Ohio. You have created a pay per click advertising campaign in Google AdWords, and your main, broadly matched keyword is “Toledo coffee shops.”

Because this keyword is set as a broad match, any user who searches for even a part of this phrase (such as “Toledo shops”) could be shown your ad so long as the keyword’s bid is set high enough. So while Toledo coffee shop patrons searching for those terms will still be shown your ad, so will people looking for other retail establishments in the area. This means that “Toledo shops” and “coffee shops” would both trigger impressions on your ad network, despite those phrases not being terribly specific for your market.

In addition, without using a broad keyword modifier, keywords with unrelated terms can also cost you ad fees, such as “Toledo bakery” or “Dayton coffee shops.” When this happens, you’re spending money on non-optimized clicks when you can easily remedy this by using broad match modifiers.

Placing the Plus
A productive way to start the process would be to first identify the word in your keyphrase that is essential for any search to produce a “targeted” click. So, to optimize “Toledo coffee shops” using broad match modifiers, you might consider changing it to “+Toledo coffee shops.” This way searches such as “Toledo coffee,” “Toledo coffee houses,” and “Toledo cafes” will result in ad impressions, but “Toledo shops” and “Dayton coffee shops” won’t. With this strategy, you can be sure that only users looking for coffee shops in Toledo will see your ad, thereby reducing wasted ad dollars.

You can also use broad match modifiers strategically, to both target the right people and direct them to the right place if they see your ad. Without broad match modifiers, organic searches that match your campaign’s keywords head-on can potentially point users to a branded advertisement’s landing page or even a competitor’s website. You can prevent this by including the desired Web domain or brand name as the modified broad term, using the “+” function.

The pay per click advertising game is often times more about finesse than brute force. Monetizing your website by selecting broad, yet specific keywords might sound paradoxical—but it’s a great way to prime your Google AdWords campaign for efficiency and success.