Google is making big changes to the way its search engine matches keywords to produce results- and this could cause a headache for marketers. Sean Healy, Head of PPC at integrated marketing agency Jaywing, looks at Google’s recent phrase and BMM update and how businesses can adapt their PPC strategy to make the most of it.

Google’s recent changes to the function of phrase match keywords and broad match modifier (BMM), means big changes for advertisers. These new restrictions, which are currently being rolled out and are due to be finalised in July 2021, mean advertisers will no longer be able to edit or create BMM keywords.

Like any noteworthy update, this is sure to affect your PPC strategy. Here are three key points that are likely to have the most impact:

  1. While support for BMM will end, phrase match will expand to include additional broad match modifier traffic.
  2. According to Google, the new phrase will continue to respect word order ‘when it’s important to the meaning’.
  3. Google will no longer trigger for queries deemed inappropriate based on semantics, meaning that the new phrase match type will not trigger all the same queries it used to.

google phrase natch

With these in mind, here are four tips to help you adapt your strategy:

  1. Accustom yourself to the changes by looking at Google’s examples of keywords that will no longer trigger after the update.
  2. Keep an eye on search term reports to monitor impact on relevancy whilst adding negative keywords into the accounts to ensure that click-through rate percentages remain strong.
  3. Resist the temptation to move to a full broad match strategy as they can trigger search queries which are only loosely related to the keyword, resulting in the true meaning of the search being lost or misconstrued.
  4. Test out the update for yourself by running low volume A/B tests, with full broad match enabled, to measure the incremental impact of this match type against the new phrase match type.

Updates like this can sometimes be a cause of panic for advertisers, but there’s no reason to be alarmed. This isn’t the first time that Google has changed its keyword mechanisms and will by no means be the last.

Remaining responsive and adaptable is the key to making sure your PPC strategy continues to be the best value for your brand.

By Sean Healy