Broad Match problems

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New Member
I've started looking after an AdWords campaign and am finding that using broad match is causing issues.
For example, say I had the keyword web design ireland. I thought that this means that the ad should only show when the query contains these 3 words, but I did not find that in practice.

The 2 main headaches this caused were:
1) the ads were showing up for irrelevant location searches. I am only interested in the locations of Dublin and Ireland, and so all the broad match keywords included these. But these ads were showing for lots of searches when other locations were specified (to continue with the above example, web design france, web design spain, web design tullamore etc).
2) occasionally, the ads were showing for terms very loosely related to but nothing really to do with my keywords too.

I wrote to Google about this, and they indicated that this behaviour was intended, and that the solution was to use other match types and/or negative keywords.

While I do have negative keywords, I figured that unless I was going to monitor all searches like a hawk, that I was better switching to using phrase matches, and a bit of exact.

However, I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. Broad match is the default match type, and I gather it's most commonly used, and it's quicker to cover all keyword permutations using it.

So, I would really appreciate the thoughts of experienced AdWords users on this. Are you now finding broad match problematic, or are there some techniques to make it behave well? Is someone who is new to AdWords best steering clear of it, or is it an essential part of any optimised campaign?

Many thanks in advance for your time,


New Member
You have to follow the intuition and ‘intent’ of the searcher – that’s the basic problem. Broad matches are what people do and you have to deal with that eventuality.
Try “phrase matching” – and negatives (have a look at your server logs to give you the search terms to weed out)


New Member
Thanks for the reply Blue. The client has reduced their budget since I posted, so sticking to phrase matching seems to suit a tight budget at least.

I have a filter set up in Analytics which someone kindly posted on here before that is a big help in working out the negative keywords - much better than the search query performance report.

I had just hoped to hear from others currently running AdWords campaigns re how they find broad match. I am quite new to AdWords and when you only have the one account to look at, it's hard to know whether issues are general or just me! :)

Incidentally, it may not have been clear from my first post, but this is not my own AdWords account. I was just using hypothetical example keywords (I'm not a web designer anyway!). I am just trying to improve things for someone who operates in the tourism sector.
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