Often the bane of search marketers, broad match keywords can get a huge number of clicks, but it can be challenging to insure that you are getting the right searchers that lead to conversions. I imagine that every experienced search marketer has seen a campaign with the broad match term like “shirt” or “ball” driving cost through the roof. On the other hand, when the broad match terms are created carefully along with targeted ads and appropriate negative keywords, they can bring in high quality traffic.
Google has posted some interesting stats related to broad match. For example, 20% of search queries are ones that haven’t been searched on in the previous 90 days, or possibly at all. It’s unlikely that the most determined keyword-generating search marketer could cover this entire long tail. At the same time, 1/3 of all clicks and conversions are on broad match keywords.
My thinking is that the engines, in particular Google, are investing enormous resources trying to improve the accuracy of the search results displayed, including the relevance of the paid ads. Broad matching has gotten so much better than in the early days of search that search marketers should reconsider their biases against it. It just may be that broad match performs well. And with all things search, do a test. If the ROI is there, simpler broad match terms may increase your revenue and save a lot of time and money trying to create good coverage with phrase and exact match.
Written by Jason James (jason.james at channeladvisor dot com).