Time to reorganize – Google Ads has changed again

Google is always changing, and we need to be able to adapt to and respond to those changes in order to stay on top.

Recently, Google Ads introduced changes to the phrase-matched and broad-matched keyword match types and behavior. Below is what you need to know about these changes and why you should care about them.

If you need to update match types and their previous matching criteria, you can read about them here.

What did Google actually say would happen?

“Starting in February 2021, phrase matches will include broad match modifier (BMM) behavior to simplify keywords and make it easier to reach relevant customers. With this change, both phrase-matched and broad-matched keywords will behave in the same way and may show ads on searches that include your keyword meaning. “

When does the Broad Match Modifier (BMM) disappear?

The match type that allowed you to use specific “+” signs will no longer be available after June 2021.

How do we target BMM traffic in the future?

Phrase matches include the behavior of the broad match modifier as of February 2021. In essence, your BMM keywords already include phrase match keywords. It’s likely that Google will suggest that all BMM keywords be converted to phrase matches very quickly in Google ads. However, you don’t have to wait for this if you want to make this change yourself, you can do it.

What about phrase-matched word sequence functionality?

It is still respected if that phrase is relevant to the meaning of the search term. For example, ‘moving services from London to Manchester’ will show your ad ‘affordable moving services from London to Manchester’, but not if the order was canceled ‘via affordable moving services from Manchester to London’ because Google Ads sees the purpose of this query differently.

word order


Will it affect my traffic?

Yes, probably. Google has said that most advertisers should not do this, but based on past changes to the match type, it would be good to keep an eye on traffic fluctuations during the transition. If you start to see big changes in traffic, you should take action to protect your account.

In some cases, we may be wondering where this will definitely affect your traffic. These include:

1) If you use broad match converters for some words but not others

For example + moving services. You may see a decrease or increase in traffic for these keywords. The operator now applies both words. For example: + moving + services or it can make the whole query completely wide, such as moving services. It’s not clear which is at this stage, so it’s a good idea to change this type of keyword as soon as possible.

2) If your account has a large number of phrase-matched keywords

You will likely see an increase in their traffic as they behave even more broadly. Be sure to keep an eye on the relevance of this new traffic and use a negative if necessary.

3) If your account has a lot of BMM keywords

You’ll probably see a decrease in traffic if BMM takes on the same word order function as phrase matches. This means that queries that typically match the BMM are filtered out because Google reads the intent of the search term differently. If you have a lot of BMM keywords in your account, you may want to add additional phrase keywords to avoid a decrease in traffic.

4) If you’re still using ad groups based on match type

If you have ad groups with BMM and phrase match that target the same keywords, they’ll actually target the same search terms from February 2021. They’ll be treated as duplicate keywords, and you’ll likely see that phrase-matched ad groups get more traffic. It’s important to note that if you have duplicate keywords in your account, your ads will show for the keyword with the highest Ad Rank. This will make it easier for you to identify which keywords to keep and which duplicates to remove.


What about the usual broad match?

The regular broad match remains the same.

Will the changes affect anything else?

Yes, keyword bidding behavior for all match types is now somewhat more predictable. For example, an exact-matched keyword that exactly matches a query will take precedence over a phrase-matched or broad-matched keyword, as long as it’s eligible to show and doesn’t have a poor Ad Rank.

Will this affect my Quality Score?

Google assures us that Quality Score is not affected.

Why is any of this important?

This is important because Google automates changes away from keyword-targeted bidding and audience targeting. Ignoring these changes will negatively affect your account, and not everyone is happy with this type of change.

For many recent changes to Google Ads, many advertisers have removed the ability to retrieve highly detailed keyword data from their account and use it to optimize their ads for better automation. This change is no different.

In general, I believe this change can save you keyword management time in your account in the long run, but you’ll probably need to redesign and re-target your current keywords.

Hopefully you understand the changes better now. If you have any questions for us or need further expert guidance, please contact.

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