Have you noticed changes with Google Keyword Match Types?

Have you noticed changes with Google Keyword Match Types?

We sure have.

If you’ve landed here, you’re probably familiar with Google Ads and all the updates they have been doing to Keyword Match types, to name just the latest ones:

  • Bye-bye Broad Match Modifier (February 2021)
  • Google reps all over Broad Match (From September 2021)

Broad Match Type – Go wild!

Now I am a bit scared of Broad Match. I think it can work wonders for big budgets and clients selling more generic products - but let’s be honest, not all clients have big budgets and some of them need to go specific with their keywords. Long story short, my go-to is usually Phrase Match.


GRWM for a morning in a Paid Media Role

8:00 AM – Wake up, get ready and walk the dog*

8:50 AM – Coffee making and turn on laptop

9:00 AM – Paid accounts health check

And then since mid 2023…

9:30 AM – Wait…why is Phrase Match acting like Broad Match?!

Phrase Match used to be about “query must include your Keyword”, but could include additional information before or after your targeted Keyword. Now the definition is different - ”query must include your Keyword’s meaning”- which would be alright…if the meaning was the same. The problem comes when your Keyword is “luxury shoes” and Google understands same meaning as “Primark shoes”… you get what I mean, right?


Phrase Match Type – Query must include your keyword’s meaning

We’ve noticed this behaviour across accounts from August/September last year, and the thing is that this has also reflected in the Impression Share - not only from the account managed, but also from competitors seen in Auction Insights. 


Our Campaign


Competitors from Auction Insights for that same campaign


How to mitigate the change in keyword match behaviour?

The thing with Google is that they are not likely to change their approach and we just must work around their updates. In our case, we’ve taken two actions:

  1. Increase our Search Terms audit frequency and increase Keyword exclusions
  2. Client feedback is essential to understand what a useful search is and what should be excluded

We’ve already started to see some improvements in Impression Share this quarter and our goal is to optimise further in the upcoming months. It is all about the optimisation!

Let us know your experience - and of course, if you need any help, just shout! 

*In case all you care about is the dog…say Hola to Perri!



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Ale Rincon

Senior Demand Generation Consultant

Ale is a Senior Demand Generation Consultant at 7DOTS, a team that grows businesses by maximising the performance of their paid marketing activity. The team works across PPC, Programmatic and Paid social - with Ale specialising in SA360, DV360, LinkedIn and Meta.