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Are you ready for Google’s match type update?

In February this year, Google announced it was making changes to the phrase match and broad match modifier (BMM) keyword match types. As of July for Google (August for Microsoft), advertisers will no longer be able to edit existing BMM keywords, or create new BMM keywords. No action is required for the changes in match types, and historical data will still be accessible, but it is important to start planning ahead now for campaigns.

How will Phrase Match change?

Despite BMM becoming redundant, how phrase match works has been updated to include BMM traffic. The updated phrase match means ads will be shown for searches that include the meaning of your keyword. It will also continue to respect the word order when it is important to the meaning. The new phrase match type does not trigger all the same search queries previously triggered by BMM where Google deems it as inappropriate based on semantics.

How do these changes look?

Below are some of Google’s examples which show how matching behaviour has changed:


Broad Match Modifier keyword Queries that will no longer match after the update
+best +trainers best prices on trainers for toddler
+used +printers companies that used daisy wheel printers


Phrase Match keyword Queries that will no longer match after the update
‘holidays in zambia’ holiday spots in zambia
‘long sleeve dress’ long sleeve lace dress


What do we do now?

If like us, you currently use both BMM and exact match types for keywords across your accounts, it is important to keep an eye out on fluctuations in traffic and monitor performance closely, so you can make the necessary adjustments.

It would also be worth reviewing search query reports over the past 6 months or so to see which terms have driven conversions and adding these keywords to the account as Phrase and Exact Match keywords. This should help to ensure minimal disruption to conversion volumes.

Continue to review your search query reports on a regular basis, for more recent insights, to ensure search terms triggering ads are still highly relevant. Where this is not the case, add these search terms as negative keywords to maintain healthy click through rates and conversion rates. As well as this, review your Recommendations page for any new keyword and redundant keyword suggestions.

Haven’t tested Broad Match before? Now is the time!

With the removal of the BMM keyword match type, now may be the time to test using full Broad Match. In the past this has been seen to be a risky strategy, however, Google has announced changes to the match type and has stated that “Broad Match now looks at additional signals in your account to deliver more relevant searches”. These signals include keywords and landing pages in your ad group. We would recommend picking a low-risk campaign and testing Broad Match keywords, with the use of campaign experiments. Google also recommends testing Broad Match keywords alongside Smart Bidding as the two together can reach more relevant queries and identify new growth opportunities, as well as capitalise on the auction-time signals to set the right bid for each search query.

Need more help?

If you need help configuring your match types, setting up / running your campaigns, or simply would like someone to review past work, we can help. We offer a range of flexible PPC services, find out more here or get in touch to discuss your requirements.

About the author:

Bhavisha Panesar is the Senior PPC Manager at CreativeRace, with 10 years of experience in PPC working across sectors such as retail, leisure, finance and property. She has worked on local and global brands including TK Maxx, Euro Car Parts, Topps Tiles, and Jabra.