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Monday, October 15, 2007

Working with AdWords Expanded Broad Match

The "expanded" part of the AdWords broad match keyword match option has been getting a lot of attention recently, most of which would be described as negative.

Back in 2003 when expanded broad match (EBM) was first announced it was described as follows:

Expanded broad matching

Broad keyword matching now includes expanded matches such as plurals and synonyms. Keyword matching options enable you to control how precisely you want a user's query to match your specified keyword, and expanded broad match simply lets you find more matches automatically.

For example, if you advertise on the keyword 'web hosting,' your ad might also appear for searches on 'website hosting.'

* How does expanded broad matching work?

Based on the monitoring and analysis of millions of user queries, the AdWords system automatically shows your ads for expanded matches, including plurals and synonyms.

* How do I get samples of these new matches?

You can view your potential expanded matches using our keyword suggestion tool.

* How do I limit some or all expanded matches?

You will receive more clicks by leaving your broad-matched keywords on broad match with the new expanded matching capability. However, if you want to prevent your ads from showing on particular expanded terms, you can add those terms as negative matches to your keyword list. If you'd prefer not to expand certain keywords at all, you can use a new account tool to easily change those keywords from broad matches to either phrase or exact matches; these match types will not be expanded. This will prevent your ads from showing on any matches related to those keywords (but you may also see a decrease in impressions and clicks). For each keyword whose matching option is changed, you'll see your broad match history and your new match type. Contact your Client Service Representative with any questions.

A more recent note about expanded broad matching on the keyword matching options page says:

"A note about expanded matching: The AdWords system continually monitors system-wide keyword performance and other relevance factors. This helps determine which expanded matches and variations are the most relevant to user searches."

As I mentioned earlier, most of the recent comments about EBM haven't been what most would call positive. That's not overly surprising as with most things in life, the people who are the most vocal on a subject tend to be less than satisfied with how something works.

I've found myself in the perceived minority in relation to the EBM issue. I have actually started using broad match more in the last year due to it's effectiveness - and by effectiveness I mean ROI. I'm not talking about CTR, impressions, number of clicks or any other non success related metric. I'm not doing anything that's complicated or cutting edge either...just what in my opinion are the basic best practices one should use in conjunction with broad matched keywords. A typical new broad matched campaign build out follows the same basic steps;

1. Add keyword(s).
2. Use the AdWords keyword tool to come up with a list of negative matched key words.
3. Run those potential negative keywords through all keyword tools at my disposal to check for other potential keyword variations I would like to block.
4. Where applicable, check server logs for additional potential negative matches.
5. Launch campaign and based on the potential volume (high volume = quicker audit) schedule an account audit.
6. During the audit rerun the AdWords keyword tool to see if any new potential variations have shown up. Then on to the server logs and other keyword tools to look for more potential negatives. Now that the search query report is available I'll usually run one of those too just to be on the safe side.

Finally I pull out any high performing (i.e. converting) keywords and add them to a different campaign as exact or phrase match depending on the circumstances. Then I go back into the broad matched campaign and add those words/phrases as negatives so I'm not competing with myself in my own account. I repeat this process frequently as dictated by overall campaign volume. Of course this process will vary depending on the circumstance but generally speaking it's the process I follow.

It's been suggested that Google should allow AdWords users to opt out of the expanded part of broad matching. I wouldn't oppose such an offering but in terms of priorities, at least for me, this one's way down at the bottom of the list. I really don't think it's all that high of a priority for Google either. I'm sure they make nice chunk of change from those who just enter in a broad matched keywords with few or no negatives and high bids. Advertise at your risk I suppose.

For more on the expanded broad match issue take a look at the pages listed in my AdWords search engine by clicking here.

If you have any feedback/comments related to expanded broad match please feel free to share via the comments. No registration required.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google no longer claims AdWords/AdSense doesn't influence the natural results

Was answering a question last night and went to reference a page I've pulled up many times in the past. At one point that page said:

"Will participation in AdWords or AdSense affect my listing in Google's free search results?

Google's advertising programs are independent of our search results. Search results display on the left side of our results page; ads appear on the right and in the colored box at the top.

Participation in an advertising program doesn't positively or negatively affect inclusion or ranking in the Google search results. Inclusion and ranking are free services; we don't accept payment to expedite inclusion or improve a site's ranking for particular keywords. To learn more about how Google ranks pages, please visit"

Now that page says:

"We're sorry, but the information you've requested cannot be found. Please try searching or browsing the Help Center."

Here's the original page in

Looks like the same fate for the UK help page as well.

So there you have it, participating in a Google advertising program might ( or might not;-) ) help your natural listings.


AdWords Keyword Tool, New Features

Couple new features coming to the AdWords Keyword Tool in the next week or so:

Per-Keyword Match Type: The addition of a per-keyword pop-up menu allows you select the match type you wish to add for individual keywords. The addition of a Negative match type in the per-keyword pop-up lets advertisers add a keyword as a negative match.

Consolidated View: Instead of having four separate views (Keyword Search Volume, Cost and Ad Position Estimates, Search Volume Trends, Possible Negative Keywords) as with the current tool, we will now have only one detailed view in which you can customize which columns you want to see. This way, you can see all the information you want in a single view.

New Filters: We will be adding three new filters to the Keyword Tool based on user feedback. As such, users can now limit the types of results they see:

- Don't show results that contain the following words or phrases (advertiser can enter in words or phrases in a box below)

- Don't show keywords already in my ad group (if they entered the Keyword Tool from the ad group page)

- Don't show ideas for new keywords. I only want to see data about the keywords I entered.

I'm looking forward to the new filters, will be a big help in my world. The consolidated view should be pretty handy too.

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