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Google Ads Update: Keyword Match News

Elizabeth De Leon
As of February 18, 2021, there has been a major update to Google Ads that has changed the way it reaches users.

As of the date of the update, keywords with phrase match and keywords with the broad match modifier are associated with the same searches as users. Before we understand what this change is all about, let's take a step back and take a closer look at what types of keywords we're talking about.

The types of keyword matches

When creating a campaign, the advertiser selects a list of keywords through which he wants to reach specific user traffic. Keywords are words or phrases that are strategically selected so that ads appear in correspondence with certain user searches. Plus, they're the building blocks of a Google Ads campaign to catch people looking for what they need.

It is important to note that there are different types of keyword matches. The advertiser uses keyword matches to give machine learning cues on when to show ads, respecting user searches.

Phrase match keywords cause ads to be shown to users searching for the exact keyword, even if it is preceded or followed by other words.

Let's take a practical example. By entering the keyword bicycle helmets , the ad will obviously appear when users search bicycle helmets , but also for searches like racing bike helmets o bicycle helmet prices

Exact match keywords cause your ads to be shown to users searching for words with the same meaning or intent as the keyword. So for a keyword like tennis shoes , ads can be shown for searches like tennis tent o comfortable tennis shoes

Unlike phrase match, which involves enclosing the keyword in quotes, for example, » tennis shoes" , for an exact match you must enter the keyword between two brackets [tennis shoes].

Ads containing broad match keywords may also show for keyword-related searches, including misspellings, punctuation, plurals, synonyms, or the like. For example, if the keyword is a low carbohydrate diet , the ad is also likely to be seen by those searching carbohydrate-free foods .

Broad match is the default match type assigned to all your keywords, unless the advertiser chooses to enter a different one. In addition to the generic, there is also the modified broad match.

They are very similar to each other but in this case the modifier causes the ads to be shown only for searches that include the words preceded by the sign + (+ elegant + shoes).

The peculiarity of this match is that the ad will not run for related keywords. If the keyword in question is elegant shoes, the ad will be shown to those who search elegant shoes but not to those who seek formal shoes.

What changes with the new update and the removal of the broad match modifier

As of the date of the update, Modified Broad Match will be progressively phased out, and keywords with the Broad Match modifier and Phrase Match keywords will have the same behavior.

However, as of July 2021, it will no longer be possible to create keywords with a broad match modifier, but the same matching functionality will be available through phrase one.

What will advertisers have to do to cope with this update? The answer is nothing, Google Ads will automatically merge the two matches. During the transition, until July 2021, you will still be able to create keywords for broad match modifier, but since they will behave the same as phrase match, it is recommended that you start creating only phrase match.

As directly reported by Google Ads support, this update could lead to an increase in traffic for phrase match keywords and, at the same time, a slight decrease in traffic for broad match modifier keywords.

How to deal with the new Google Ads update

We wonder the reason for this update. Google claims to have done this to make it easier to manage keywords in your Google Ads accounts and to give you more control and better reach.

However, there is no doubt that traffic could be significantly affected by this change. We know there will be a gradual implementation of changes over the months and no immediate action is required. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to monitor the performance and keep an eye on the performance of Google Ads campaigns. We can only wait and see in the coming months if this update will benefit advertisers, in terms of campaign performance, or not.