Is Google AdWords “Broad Match” Taking You for a Ride?

Get a better return from your presence on Google

An AdWords campaign seems to be a given for any company looking to create an online presence, and the service is generally a good way to get new traffic to your website, and to help potential customers find whatever it is you’re selling. However, when designing your AdWords campaign, be sure to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, or you could be flushing your hard-earned electronic cash down the proverbial toilet.

AdWords’ “broad match” function allows for your ads to be triggered by a keyword that you haven’t specified in your account. According to Google, “One of the primary benefits of broad match is that it helps you attract more traffic to your website. In addition, broad match saves you time when constructing your campaigns, lets you take advantage of global search trends, and is cost-effective.”

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Hmmm, let’s see about that, shall we?

Taking another example from Google’s AdWords website, here’s how they describe broad matching: “If you include general keyword or keyword phrases – such as ‘tennis shoes’ – in your keyword list, your ads may appear when users search for ‘tennis’ and ‘shoes,’ in any order, and possibly along with other terms.” So basically, Google is saying that if I sell tennis shoes, and I want “tennis shoes” in my keyword list, then people might be directed to my website if they are looking for “snow shoes”?! Not cool, Google.

If you entered into the AdWords game without first doing all your research, you may be falling prey to Google’s broad match system. While this function can be helpful for large companies with a huge marketing budget, smaller companies with respectively smaller resources may not benefit. Think about it: If people looking for snow shoes click on your ad and all you have to offer them are tennis shoes, how long do you think they’ll stick around to look at your site? So not only does that click not convert to a sale for you, but you’ve also just funneled part of your budget into a useless visit to your site.

If you think you might be at the short end of the broad match stick, consider changing your keywords to exact match or phrase match. Not surprisingly, AdWords has broad match as the default option for keywords, so in order to do this, enter your keywords like this: [tennis shoes] for exact match, “tennis shoes” for phrase match. This should reduce the amount of irrelevant visitors to your website, and will probably result in higher ROI for you.


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