Phrase Match & Exact Match When Modified Broad Match Used

From the Market Motive Forum: PPC Expert Brad Geddes Answers Complicated Question Regarding Phrase Match and Exact Match when Modified Broad Match is Also Employed

Time for another great question from a student over in our member’s only forum.

“Hi Brad. I wanted to get your take on the use of phrase match and exact match when Modified Broad Match is also used.

Here is an example: Suppose I have a tightly focused Ad Group – Left Handed Screwdrivers.

In this made-up example, let’s assume that the headline of my ad reads “Best Left Handed Screwdrivers,” and my landing page headline is “Best Left Handed Screwdrivers.”

While I am confident that I have an ad group with a tight focus, I want to make sure I get
good exposure. I find that I almost always use modified broach match because I don’t want to miss relevant searches. I use the following modified broach match: +left +handed +screwdrivers; +left +hand +screwdrivers.

I am wondering how important it is to also use phrase match and exact match. For example,
“left handed screwdrivers,” “left hand screwdrivers,” “screwdrivers left handed,” “screwdrivers left hand,” etc.

I understand that in theory, phrase and exact match may be unnecessary since I use
modified broad match, but my gut tells me my approach may impact quality score?

What do you think?”

This is a great question. Excluding things like budgets and some larger organizational items, there’s a few reasons to use multiple match types for a given word:

  • Bids
  • Offer (the ads and landing page)
  • View Quality Score (QS) of the actual word
  • Impression share

While your modified broad match should capture most relevant queries, it might not always capture them (this is usually due to budget, rank, or QS of the actual query). By adding the keyword as an exact match, you can then set higher bids for an exact match than the modified broad words.

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Look at the actual QS (you might have some queries for the same modified broad match word with a 3 QS and others that are a 10). By adding the exact match versions, you can get better insight into the QS by queries and also view your impression share for your exact match words to make sure you have high IS on your top exact match versions.

It’s usually a good idea to add exact match versions of your top keywords. If you’re using automated bidding (or can take the time to look at all the actual keywords), then adding the exact match version of all your words is a good idea. This is a question more of time vs. possibility when you start getting into adding exact match versions of words that only get 20-50 impressions a month.

Phrase match is a tough one these days since it often converts about the same as modified broad. If you have word ordering issues (contractor license and license contractor are two completely different items) then you need to use phrase match over modified broad.

If you’re using third-party bid technology and therefore have the time to bid on each match-type version, then it can be good to add. If you have a small- to mid-sized account with little technology powering it, then phrase match can often be skipped.


Check out Market Motive’s PPC training instructed by Brad Geddes Google Adwords Seminar leader.

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