What’s happening to Google’s Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier?
In 2021, Google’s phrase match will begin to adopt behaviours from the broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords and facilitate reaching the right customers.
What does this mean?
This means that both phrase and BMM keywords will show on ads on searches that include your keyword’s meaning and have similar matching behaviour. This also means that matching will now take into account word order relevant to the meaning.
Let’s take a look at an example to understand this better.
Suppose you search something along the lines of “shipping services from Toronto to Edmonton.” The phrase match keyword will continue to cover searches like “accessible shipping services from Toronto to Edmonton” and “local shipping services from Toronto to Edmonton.”
With the new change, it will now also cover searches that only matched under BMM. For example, “Toronto corporate shipping services to Edmonton” will now be included in the search.
However, Phrase match will not show ads for searches in the opposite direction. For example, people looking for shipping services from Edmonton to Toronto will not be offered the same ads.
This is a fascinating approach taken by Google. It will allow to narrow down audiences more effectively, allowing customers to reach the brands and services they are looking for easier.
What will happen to BMM keywords?
BMM keywords will work using the new phrase matching behaviour. However, brands should be aware of how the changes will take place.
During the change period, brands will still be able to create BMM keywords using the BMM notation (+ keyword ). The keywords will behave similarly as the phrase match using the quotation marks (“ keyword ”). It is highly recommended that brands create phrase match keywords from now on.
Also, broad match modifiers will no longer operate on a word within the keyword. If you use a keyword like + shipping services , both terms will be applied (as if + shipping + services or “shipping services” were used).
As of July 2021, the ability to create new broad match modifier keywords will no longer be available. However, existing BMM keywords will not be eliminated and continue utilizing the new matching metrics and behaviours. Editing keyword bids and URLs will still be possible. Nonetheless, if you try to edit the keyword text, Google will change the match type to phrase match.
A brand’s or website’s performance history should not be affected by this new matching behaviour. Since BMM and phrase keywords will behave the same, using phrase matching will become easier.
Keep in mind that there are no performance benefits to converting BMM keywords. If changed to phrase match, the keywords’ performance stats will not carry over.
What comes next?
Although no changes are required to adapt to the new keyword behaviours, people can expect significant improvements and declines in their traffic volumes.
Phrase keyword traffic might suffer an increase in traffic volumes, while BMM keywords might show slightly decreased traffic volumes. Monitoring search terms report and account performance closely is highly recommended.
If you are unsure as to how to proceed, let us know! Schedule a call with us to evaluate your situation and see how we can optimize your strategies.