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Max Johnson

Google has recently announced that we will soon begin to see the phasing out of +Broad +Match +Modified (BMM) keywords. This is because phrase match will begin to incorporate the same behaviours that BMM currently has, essentially rendering BMM useless.

In February 2021, the new matching behaviour will begin to roll out for both Phrase and BMM keywords in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Russian.

Why is it changing?

Google claims that the change should simplify keywords and the strategies we use around them, making it easier to find relevant users on Google Search and increase traffic volumes.

Phrase match keywords are becoming cleverer and broader in what search terms can trigger them. Google has given this example:

The phrase match keyword “moving services NYC to Boston.” will continue to cover searches like “affordable moving services NYC to Boston.” It will also cover searches that traditionally only matched under broad match modifier, such as “NYC corporate moving services to Boston.”

But it’s also worth noting that Phrase match won’t show ads for searches where the direction is reversed (for example, people looking to move from “Boston to New York City”).

What to do moving forwards

After July 2021, the creation of BMM keywords will not be available in Google Ads across all languages, but all the great benefits they offered prior will be obtainable through the new Phrase match keyword update.

With this in mind, we advise that you only create Phrase and Exact match keywords moving forwards. However, your existing BMM keywords (should you still have them in your account) will continue to serve using the new Phrase matching behaviour.

You’ll still be able to edit your BMM keyword bids & URL, but if you try to edit the keyword text, the keyword match type will be automatically updated to Phrase match.

Since your BMM keywords will continue to work using the new phrase matching behaviour, you will be able to keep all your keyword performance history and you won’t need to take any immediate action in terms of replacing them with Phrase match. But since Phrase and BMM keywords will behave in the same way, you may find it easier and cleaner to start using Phrase & Exact match exclusively.

If you do decide to strip away your BMM keywords and just use Phrase and Exact match moving forwards, then it is advised to download all the historical BMM keyword data you have, as this may become unavailable from within Google Ads.

The following days and weeks after making this change, you should keep a close eye on performance and search terms and be ready to optimise and allocate budgets differently if necessary.

Additional tools will be released by Google Ads to easily convert your BMM keywords to Phrase should you want to.

Single Broad Match Modifiers, i.e. the single plus sign in this example +moving services, will no longer be single modifiers and will apply to all the words in the keyword. Meaning that if you make a phrase match keyword “moving services”, it will now operate like +moving +services traditionally would have, and there is no option for single modifiers.

How might these changes affect your results?

Existing Phrase match keywords in your account may start to see increasing volumes of traffic once the match type transition has finalised. It’s advised that you keep a close eye on these keywords over the coming months by monitoring search term reports and campaign performance.

Existing BMM keywords in your account (especially single modifiers with plus signs not on every word) are likely to see drops in traffic levels once the changes have settled.

If you would like to take measures to ensure no traffic will be lost, consider adding additional relevant Phrase match keywords. You can usually find some great new keyword ideas in the Add Keywords recommendations section, or from within Keyword Planner. You can also analyse your existing BMM keywords over time to see which search queries show decreased traffic and add new phrase match keywords where there are decreases.

It has also been announced that this change will not impact the Quality Score of your ads account.

Finally, it’s worth knowing that if you have both Phrase match and BMM versions of keywords in your account, then the AI will typically prefer the keyword with the highest Ad Rank to trigger the ad.

The PPC experts at Coast Digital are well prepared and know exactly how to manage this change for our accounts. If you would like to discuss what we can do for you and your business, give us a call today on 0845 450 2086.

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