Optimize Your PPC Account With Match Type Keyword Sculpting

By Lindsay Keller | Dec 27, 2011
More Articles by Lindsay

Do you want to make your AdWords account more efficient and lower your average cost-per-click? Well, who wouldn’t? Match type keyword sculpting might just be the restructuring technique you need to help optimize your account and get more bang for your buck!

We all know that exact match keywords are much more targeted and tend to have a lower cost-per-click than broad andGoogle AdWords Match Type Keyword Sculpting phrase match keywords. However, you don’t just want to get rid of all broad and phrase match keywords because you may miss out on a lot of relevant traffic that exact match keywords don’t catch. Broad and phrase match types help increase traffic and serve as a resource for identifying new keywords that should be added to the account.

When there are multiple keywords with different match types in the same ad group that can trigger an ad for the same search query, the AdWords system uses a set of preferences to determine which keyword is used. While using the most restrictive match type is an AdWords preference, there are other factors that are taken into consideration and it has been observed that the broad match version can often be chosen over the exact match keyword. The problem is, the broad match keyword traditionally has a much higher cost-per-click than the exact match keyword. So how can you get more control over what match type triggers an ad for a particular search query?

The answer is to separate each match type (broad, phrase, and exact) into their own ad group. Now this could be extremely time consuming if you were to use this structure for every keyword in your account. The trick is to only use this structure for those important keywords that generate high volumes of traffic. These keywords are usually pretty broad and tend to have lower conversion rates, but in terms of volume they usually receive the most conversions.

When moving these keywords into different ad groups, I suggest using AdWords Editor to copy and paste the keyword into the new ad group. Make sure to only pause the keyword in the old ad group, instead of deleting it, in order to retain historical performance metrics that can be used to make quality score comparisons. Be aware that when a keyword is moved to a new ad group, a temporary keyword quality score set back will occur. You will see an initial fluctuation in your performance as AdWords readjusts to the new keyword location and possibly new ad copy. If you have optimized your account for the better, then your performance will begin to pick up after restructuring, but this will take some time.

Once you have identified the most important keywords generating high volumes of traffic and have separated each match type into its own ad group, the next step is to incorporate negative keyword sculpting to prevent the broad and phrase match ad groups from stealing impressions from the exact match ad group with the lower cost-per-click. Within the broad match ad group, add the exact match negative and phrase match negative version of the keyword, and in the phrase match ad group, only add the exact match negative keyword. The exact match ad group does not require any negative keywords to be added because ads will only be triggered for that exact keyword. For example, for the keyword blue widgets, your ad group structure should look something like this:

Ad Group Keyword Negative Keyword
Ad Group 1 blue widgets “blue widgets”    [blue widgets]
Ad Group 2 “blue widgets” [blue widgets]
Ad Group 3 [blue widgets]

Using negative sculpting forces AdWords to funnel impressions to the most profitable ad group, the highly targeted and lowest cost exact match group. Along with reducing the average cost-per-click, you can tailor the ad copy for each keyword match type to increase relevancy and click-through-rate. For example, you can develop ad copy in the exact match ad group targeted specifically to that exact keyword. Then as you get to the broad match ad group, you can use more general terms in the ad copy to appeal to more searchers. Just remember to include a range of negative keywords in the broad match and phrase match ad groups to prevent irrelevant impressions and clicks from occurring.

Let us know if/when you’ve tried this restructuring technique and seen major performance improvements. Please share your experience with match type keyword sculpting!

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