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Phrase and broad match keywords that are identical to a query are now preferred

When Google announced that it was expanding phrase match to include broad match modifier traffic earlier this year, it told advertisers that an exact match keyword that’s identical to a query will always take priority, so long as it’s eligible to match.

Moving forward, broad match and phrase match keywords will follow that same behavior, Google announced on Thursday.

In addition, the company has provided new details on how keyword matching works when a search is identical to a given keyword as well as when a search is not identical to any of an advertiser’s keywords (shown above). Google has also revealed that BERT’s language understanding capabilities are now being used to understand the intent of queries and match them to keywords.

The natural language processing capabilities BERT brings to keyword matching may mean that your ads get shown for more relevant searches. Knowing how Google matches keywords can help you save time and better configure your campaigns.

However, the removal of search terms not deemed “significant” remains a problem for broad match. Google has added more historical data for queries that received impressions but no clicks, which can be helpful, but advertisers may be missing out on important search query data if broad match terms with less “significant” queries drive more traffic.

Google also recommended that advertisers group keywords into thematically consistent ad groups so their ads will serve from the ad group they expect them to: “Let’s say your business offers food delivery, and your most popular search categories are sushi and pizza delivery. In this case, we’d recommend three ad groups so you can tailor your creative and landing page: one for ‘sushi delivery’, another for ‘pizza delivery’, and a third for ‘food delivery’.”


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