The ABCs of Google Ads Mistakes, Part 2: Broad Keywords


The first time you open the Google Ads console, you may think that you need a rocket science degree to use it. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult even knowing where to start. As with anything else, the best place to start with Google Ads is at the beginning.

At Google Ads, “the beginning” means the ABC, these are:

  • A – automation
  • B. – Broad keywords
  • C. – Conversion tracking

These Basics are important to be right whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert; If you get this right, your marketing campaign has a much better chance of being successful. However, if you get them wrong, you are likely to have trouble.

If you get the basics wrong, you may find it difficult to get the volume of traffic you need. Alternatively, you may end up getting a lot of traffic but nothing else. It’s great to see a lot of people coming to your website, but your efforts (and budget) are wasted if no one is buying from you.

Each of these basics are too complex to fit into a single article, so we’ll only cover one for now: Broad keywords. Here we take a look at what they are, why it’s important to get them right, and how to troubleshoot issues.

What are broad keywords?

When setting up a Google Ads campaign, you have the option of choosing between 3 keyword match types. Which one you choose will have a significant impact on the volume and quality of traffic you will get from your campaign. Which keyword option is best for you depends largely on the nature of your campaign.

Below we take a look at each type of match and the pros and cons of each one.

Exact match

Exact keywords are just that. Your ads will only appear if someone is accurately typing your chosen keywords.


  • Highly relevant traffic
  • High click rates
  • High conversion rates


  • Low traffic
  • High cost per click

Phrase match

When the appropriate phrase is selected, your ads will only be shown to people searching for your selected keywords, but other keywords may also be included in the search. However, the keywords must also appear in the order in which you selected them. For example, if you keyworded “pc hardware” then a search for “discount pc hardware” will run your ads. A search for “Hardware for PC” does not work.


  • Targeted traffic, if not as targeted as exactly fitting
  • Good click rates
  • Good conversion rates


  • Low traffic volume compared to broad search
  • High cost-per-click compared to broad searches

Broad agreement

When broad match keywords are selected, your ads will be served by any search terms that Google considers similar to your selected keywords. For example, if your keyword phrase was “PC hardware”, your ad could appear when someone searches for “discount hardware”.

In addition, Google sometimes allows synonyms to trigger a search. For example, a search for “power tools” may also result in your ad showing.


  • Heavy traffic
  • Low cost per click


  • Badly targeted traffic
  • Bad click rates
  • Bad conversion rates

Modified largely matching match

We say there are 3 types of keywords and Google Ads gives you 3 main options to choose from, but in reality there are 4. The fourth type, unfamiliar to many beginners, is modified broad match and falls somewhere between broad match and phrase match.

To use modified broadly matched searches, you should put a “+” in front of a search term. This then tells Google that synonyms are not wanted and a search will only trigger your ads if that term is included.

Negative keywords

While this isn’t exactly a match type, this is another option that can be very valuable – negative keywords.

Negative keywords are those that you don’t want your ads to trigger on. It doesn’t tell Google that certain terms must be included; it tells them that certain terms should not be included. Let’s say people arrive at your website after searching for “install pc hardware”. Many of these people will not be looking for a purchase, they will likely just be looking for information on installing a product they already have.

If you add “install PC hardware” to your negative keyword list, that very term will not trigger your ads, but “PC hardware” will continue to do so. It can be used in conjunction with broad match keywords to limit the bad traffic coming your way. However, you would likely have to spend a lot of time adding negative keywords.

Why choosing the right type of match is important

It’s easy to believe that you will get the best results by choosing the option that will get you the most traffic, but it usually doesn’t. Of course it is important to have a good volume of traffic, but it is also important to have a good volume of traffic QUALITY of traffic. In short, it means that people who have at least some interest in what you are selling will come to your website.

Broad keywords will give you the highest volume of traffic. The cost per click is also very low, so you can easily afford to send a lot of people to your website. Since broad keywords are not as selective as the others, fewer of your visitors are likely to be interested in your products.

Broad keywords tend to produce poor conversions results. However, this does not mean that broad match keywords should not be used. Whether you should use broad match keywords or any other type of keyword option depends on the specifics of your campaign and the intended goal.

Which one to use?

Despite the obvious downsides to general keywords, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any use. In fact, Google itself recommends starting with Broad Match and then refining your keyword strategy over time.

It’s not just traffic getting your direction with broad keywords – a lot of data is being sent too. This data includes what people are looking for to find your products, which makes it a very effective keyword research tool. However, what you really need are conversions. So when you start to find good search terms from broad keyword results, you can add them as a phrase or even as a match search.

This is a strategy typically used by agencies that have the time and resources. Other users are likely to need faster results, and that means the broad search will cut out and go straight to the phrase or exact match – with phrase match offering a good balance between traffic volume and volume.

Don’t forget to check the conversion rates in the Google Ads control panel if you’ve set up conversion tracking. Those keywords that convert well should be kept and the others discarded.

When looking for new keywords and deciding on keyword options, the Google Ads Keyword Planner is very helpful. It is best to use relevant keywords that have high search volume and low / medium competition. Google wants your campaigns to do well. If your campaigns are doing well, you will likely keep using Google Ads, and that means more money for Google. They gave you the tools you need to run a successful campaign, and it’s a good idea to make the most of those tools.


Finally, we come to what is the main problem for many people – how much does it cost? There is no single answer to this question, but Google Ads is generally very affordable. In addition, you are free to set your own budget and are not bound if things don’t go the way you wanted them to.

Different companies compete with each other to display their ads. An auction, in which the highest bidder wins, decides which ads are shown. However, the costs do not depend solely on those who place the highest bid; There are also other factors that need to be considered such as: B. the click rate (CTR).

A high CTR basically means that there are more clicks on your ads as they serve. The higher the CTR, the less you pay per click. It pays to experiment with your ads to determine the best CTR (and conversions) to lower your costs and maximize profits.

Of course, you don’t have to bid manually for each individual impression. that would be ridiculous. Instead, you tell Google Ads what total you’re willing to pay and the rest will do it for you. There are several types of bids to choose from, including:

Manual CPC bids:

  • With this option you set your bids manually. This option will help you prioritize the keywords that were performing well for you.
  • Setting a maximum budget will limit your spending.

Maximize clicks:

  • This option sets your average daily budget and Google Ads will automate bidding to maximize the number of clicks.
  • This option is good for convenience and good traffic, but there may be some degradation in quality.

Smart bidding:

  • With Smart Bidding you can maximize conversions. You decide what budget you want to spend and Google Ads uses machine learning to get the best results.
  • There are five main goals you can achieve with Smart Bidding: Enhanced Cost-per-Click (ECPC), Maximize Conversion Value, Maximize Conversions, Target Cost-Per-Action (CPA), and Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS ).


Setting the match type for your keywords is one of the most basic factors in setting up your account. However, it’s also one of the most common mistakes people make, in part because Google Ads sets broad keywords by default.

If you didn’t specify the correct type of match, you could end up with a lot of traffic that is of little value to you. Alternatively, you might end up paying a lot for very targeted traffic, but not enough volume. Which one is best for you depends on a number of factors, including what you want to achieve and how familiar you are with the Google Ads platform. As you get to know the platform and its features better, you can improve your keyword strategies to get more good quality traffic at a lower cost.



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