Google Ads Phrase & Broad Match Keyword Preferability & BERT

Sep 24, 2021 - 7:51 am 1 by
Filed Under Google Ads

Google Ads

There is a ton to pack into Google Ads announcement that they named "matching the most relevant keyword to every search." There is a change to both phrase and broad match keywords when they match are handled, what happens when they are not identical and how Google uses BERT to better match keywords to queries. Google said Google Ads rolled out "improved understanding of search intent and more predictability in how keywords match."

George at Search Engine Land did an excellent job breaking it all down for you but in summary this is what changed.

When a search is identical to one of your keywords in your ads, Google in February changed it so phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic. In short, an exact match keyword that is identical to a query is now always preferred as long as its eligible to match. Going forward, both phrase and broad match keywords will follow the same behavior, Google said.

Here is the example given by Google... Let's say someone searches for "sushi delivery near me", and you have the broad match keywords sushi delivery and sushi delivery near me. Before this update, both of these keywords would be eligible to serve. Now, the keyword sushi delivery near me is preferred because it is identical to the search term. Note that if you have an eligible exact match keyword that is identical to the query, it will still be preferred over the phrase and broad match keyword.

Now when a search is not identical to any of your keywords, Google would previously handle it that when you had multiple keywords that were eligible to match and none were identical to the search, your Ad Rank would determine which keyword served. Now, Google said it will consider relevance signals in addition to Ad Rank when determining which keyword is selected. Google said that relevance is determined by looking at the meaning of the search term, the meaning of all the keywords in the ad group, and the landing pages within the ad group.

Here is the breakdown Google put together to explain it:

Keywords that are eligible

How keywords are selected

More than one broad match keyword

Only relevant broad match keywords from the most relevant ad groups will be considered. Ad Rank is then used to decide which keyword will be selected among this narrow set of broad match keywords with similar relevance.

One broad match keyword and one exact match / phrase match keyword

If you have exact match or phrase match keywords that are deemed more relevant than these broad match keywords, the exact or phrase match keyword will be selected.

If you have exact match or phrase match keywords that are deemed similar or less relevant than these broad match keywords, there is still a chance the exact or phrase match keyword will be selected if it has a higher Ad Rank. 

More than one exact match / phrase match keyword

If you have multiple exact and/or phrase match keywords eligible and no broad match keywords eligible, the keyword with the higher Ad Rank will be selected.

Google said "going back to the previous example, let's say someone now searches for "quick sushi delivery near me", and you have the phrase match keyword "fast sushi delivery" and the broad match keyword food delivery. In this instance, the phrase match keyword will be selected because it's more relevant, even if it has a lower Ad Rank than the broad match keyword."

Finn summed up a lot of the feedback on this over here:

Here is more on this:

BERT For Google Ads

Also, Google said it is now using BERT for Google Ads and matching keyword. Google said "since 2019, our research team has made significant improvements in how we interpret language, queries, and search intent—and your keywords now use this same technology to connect you with more people that are searching for what you have to offer. Since your broad match keyword can match to a variety of queries, this technology is particularly useful for broad match. For example, a highly specific query like “1995 5 speed transmission seal input shaft” is now able to match with the broad match keyword auto parts because we can tell they’re related, even though none of the words in the query and in the keyword actually match. This means that broad match can now help you find more relevant, high-performing traffic using fewer keywords."

Here is how Ginny Marvin summed it up:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: More from Ginny Marvin on this:


Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community


Search Video Recaps

Google Weekend Volatility, Google On Search Leak, Elizabeth Tucker Interview & Apple Intelligence - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: June 19, 2024

Jun 19, 2024 - 10:00 am

Report On If Google Showing Fewer Reddit Links In Search?

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:51 am

Google AI Overviews FAQs Including Why You Can't Disable AI Overviews

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: Two Common Reasons When A Spike In Crawling Is Bad

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:31 am

Google Tests Two More People Also Ask Results (6 PPA)

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:21 am
Google Maps

Google Local Panels Gains Menu Button

Jun 19, 2024 - 7:11 am
Previous Story: Microsoft Advertising New Search Ad Attributes For Marketing With Purpose