SEM Clubhouse wrote a very good post on Expanded Broad Match being Corrupt Since Aug 20th and I agree when he says “Broad Match was expanded way too much.” I will share with you 2 experiences that convince me he is right and what I plan to do about it.
A couple of weeks ago I did a search on Google that included a geographic indicator and a keyword. I used a county for the geography and to my surprise an ad that I managed and knew for sure did not target that county was returned. I got nervous, how many counties are there in the state? Is this ad coming up in every county in NJ?
No, just the one that neighbors the county targeted. That made me feel like it was calculated by Google, they could, in effect, double the amount of times the ad was served without going to far (pun intended). To be fair, this county never showed up in my analytics. But the whole thing left me feeling a little unsettled.
What I find even more convincing is the result of the query: Red House Painter -
When doing the keyword research for a local house painter earlier in the year, I found a large number of queries for ‘red house painter.’ Hmmmm…. is there a class of painters that will only paint your house red? As it turns out… no. Red House Painter is the name of a rock group and a popular search term. I certainly did not want the ad returned for this query, so I added it as a negative keyword and did one other thing…
I searched the phrase ‘Red House Painter’ in Google and found there were no Painting Contractor ads. Then I did the same search in Yahoo and found many contractors “advertising” for this term. I was left thinking how much smarter Google was in returning relevant ads. But now I find Service Magic, a contractor referral service, is appearing in the Google’s results. So, either Service Magic changed their campaign to target this search term (highly doubtful) or there was a change in Google’s algo. A change that was certainly to the detriment of Service Magic.
The 2 actions local Google advertisers should take:
1) Duplicate your most important broad match search terms using exact match or if you have the time… all of them. This will maintain your CTR and placement for these queries.
2) Put together an exhaustive list of negative keywords for broad matched terms and update it at least seasonally. Include neighboring towns and counties in which you do not want the ad to show.
What I would not do… is abandon broad matched search terms in a local campaign. There are too many variables when you add geography to the search term and I see too many very relevant queries showing up in the analytics that I would not have captured with exact match.
The other thing for you to consider is whether or not this is a “bad thing”. For those who are aware of this and are willing to work harder, you can gain an advantage on your competition.