Broad Match is one of the keyword matching options  offered by Microsoft Ad Center and Google AdWords  (Yahoo!  offers a similar matching option known as Advanced Match). In this tutorial, you'll learn:
- How Broad Match works.
- Why it's important to you and to your PPC  campaign.
- And how best to utilize the Broad Matching option.
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So What Is Broad Match, Anyway?
Basically, broad match is a matching option implemented by the search engines which matches your ad against a keyword and related terms. Google defines the matching option as:
Broad Match - This is the default option. If your ad group contained the keyword tennis shoes, your ad would be eligible to appear when a user's search query contained tennis and shoes, in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms , synonyms, and other relevant variations. For example, your ad might show on tennis shoe or tennis sneakers.
So basically, this option lets you pick a term related to your business, and attempts to discover other terms that search engines deem relevant to match your ad to.
The Importance Of Broad Match Keywords
So what does all that mean to you? Why do you need to know about broad match? Well, for starters, there's this:
"This is the default option."
Your keywords are automatically set to the broad matching option as you upload them, so it's useful to understand the impact of leaving broad match turned on.
The impact is that the keyword you've selected is now automatically being matched against a broad array of related queries. This has two interesting (and contrasting) ramifications:
- Discover and bid on new, useful broad matched keywords - Broad match can provide you with a host of new phrases that the search engines deem relevant to your business. Phrases you wouldn't be able to come up with on your own.
- Discover and bid on completely irrelevant broad matched keywords - In addition to the good stuff this option will unearth for you, it will also match your ad text  to completely irrelevant keywords. The search engines, after all, offer automated solutions and don't truly know your business.
So, we see that broad match is simultaneously adding quality phrases to our keyword lists while also spending our money on unrelated clicks.
Let's take a closer look at Google's "tennis shoe" example to get a better idea of what we mean.
Google's Expanded Broad Match
We'll ask Google's own keyword tool what it considers "relevant" to tennis shoes:
Here we see that Google has offered some suggestions; these all seem pretty good. If I sell tennis shoes, I'll probably want to show for these. There could be a case where I sell high-end tennis shoes and don't want to show for a phrase like "discount tennis shoes", but on the whole this is pretty good.
Unfortunately, that's not all the queries my ads are running against.
Here are some more keywords Google may be matching your ads against:
This is known as "expanded broad match" . Around 2006 Google introduced this broad match expansion, which basically means that the engine's algorithm more aggressively matches your ads against what it deems are relevant variations of your keywords.
The problem is that these variations may not be all that relevant. We see here that Google has determined that these terms "may be relevant" to our business. But what if:
- We only sell tennis shoes - Dress shoes and other tennis equipment certainly aren't keywords we want our ad to show against, in that instance.
- We only sell tennis equipment - Again, we don't want our ad showing against dress shoes and basketball shoes.
- We only sell shoes - We don't want our ad to show for tennis equipment and rackets. Also, we won't want our ad text  and landing page  talking about tennis shoes when our ad is appearing next to dress shoes.
But, if we choose a more restrictive matching option , we may miss out on valuable variations of tennis shoes, like "tennis shoe" or specific tennis shoe brand names, etc.
So, we need to find a means for implementing broad match without wasting money on irrelevant clicks.
Getting the Most Out Of The Broad Matching Option
The only way to utilize the expanded reach of broad match while restricting that reach to only relevant queries is to implement negative keywords  within your account.
Setting a negative keyword tells search engines "don't show my ad against this query".
The challenge with negative keywords is much the same as the challenge with keyword research  and discovery: how do you find all the keywords you don't want your ad to show against?
Negative keywords, WordStream, & broad match
WordStream offers a unique solution to the problem of negative keyword discovery. The software utilizes search analytic tools  to make it quickly and easily apparent to you which keywords the search engines are matching your ads against.
First, upon creating your WordStream account, you'll take advantage of the keyword grouping tools .
After you've segmented your keyword database you can then easily view which keywords within your ads are being matched against:
As you can see, by highlighting only the all keywords bucket, you can view the ungrouped keywords. This allows you to see all of the keywords within your account that search engines have been matching your keywords to that don't fit into your pre-set keyword groupings.
This is made possible by the integration of WordStream's grouping and actalytics tools .
WordStream's broad match solutions
You can learn more about using WordStream's Google PPC  negative keyword tools to prune and optimize the broad matching option today by: