Priya Kumari
Priya Kumari 8 July 2021

What’s New Google Phrase Match and How Can it be Used to Optimize PPC Ads?

The phrase match keyword matching option in Google ads matches your ad only against keywords that include a phrase you designate. Google defines the phrase matching option as the match that's more targeted than a broad match but more flexible than an exact match.

The keyword match types in Google Ads mainly fall under the following basic categories:

  1. Broad match (max reach, min relevance)
  2. Modified broad match (slightly lower reach, greater relevance)
  3. Phrase match (medium reach, max relevance)
  4. Negative match (usually used to increase the relevance of the website visitors)

Adequately using Google Phrase Match can help organizations improve their PPC performance. Phrases help as they succinctly define the search intent which makes your ads more contextual to the users. Keywords are now not just confined to words but are about meanings.

The current form of phrase match has been around since February 2021, when it absorbed the functionality of broad match modified (BMM) keywords.

When talking about the ‘Phrase Match,’ one needs to learn about the new phrase match.

What is the New Phrase Match?

According to Google, "Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of a keyword which can be implied, and user searches can be a more specific form of meaning."

As meaning has replaced keywords, the meaning of the keyword just remains a part of the query and additional text is required in the query. As Google algorithms become smarter with each passing day Google can associate several permutations and combinations of keyword matches with the users’ search queries to serve them with the more reasonable results.

As broad match has evolved, it can now show results for related searches, even if their meaning is different.

How Phrase Match Functions?

Phrase match relies on machine learning (ML) to establish when the order of things in the search changes or doesn’t change the meaning. Furthermore, Google breaks down the query match types in reports for us to see when a query was a simple phrase match versus another one with close variants.

While reporting the PPC advertisers can build a table with keywords and include rows for “search term,” “search keyword,” and “search term match type.”

Some search terms may be “Phrase” and others “Phrase (close variant).” Adding a filter allows us to see just the close variants and decide whether the negative keywords are needed.

Pro-tip – Using reports in Google Ads allows marketers to report on what Google considers to close variants of your phrase match keywords.

However, using more advanced automation, marketers can even analyze the semantic difference between the keyword and search term and automate the negative keywords when Google deviates too much from the intended meaning.

How to Get the Most Out of Phrase Match?

Here’re some pro-tips to get the most out of the phrase match to optimize your PPC performance:

Smart Bidding

Bid management can be automated and it must be done this way because this way we allow the search engine to decide the best keyword match for us.

Owing to the lessening of match types, considering automating the bids might be a good option. When Google decides to show your ads for the less-related queries, one might feel stuck bidding the same amount for those searches.

When bids are less related, they may convert at a lower level and may even need lower bids to perform at an acceptable level in terms of CPA or ROAS.

Use the Negative Phrase Match Keywords Wherever Required

The negative broad match has different rules. They eliminate the searches we don't want. How? Well, partially because they're irrelevant and partially because they perform poorly.

Thus, negative keywords don't use close variants and expansions and are stricter on the keywords that the PPC advertisers would want to eliminate. However, negative keywords only block ads when exact words from negative keywords appear in the search.

So, it’s important to understand that negative keywords also come in different match types. For example, if we select a negative phrase like ‘almond milk,’ it means that we shouldn’t show ads for ‘buy almond milk’ while we will still show ads for ‘buy milk almond.’

Therefore, it’s noteworthy that the order of the word order matters for negative phrase match keyword.

Wrap Up

Phrase match stands between exact and broad and therefore, they offer a balance between precision and volume. Google offers the PPC advertisers a wide spectrum of match types to choose from and informs them how loosely or closely a search query should match their keyword.

Hopefully, the post explained the newfangled concept of phrase match keywords and how you can use them to optimize your PPC endeavors.

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