Google announced an upgrade to the relevancy features of their AdWords advertising system this week. The changes (outlined on the Google Web site) will mostly impact advertisers opting to use Google's "broad match" feature with their PPC campaigns. The update aims to make campaign management easier for companies that wish to utilize AdWords’ broad match capabilities without the risk of having their ad cancelled for the phrases they are targeting.

AdWords' broad match feature is designed to allow Google to display ads for phrases that are related to a base phrase entered by the advertiser. For instance, an advertiser running an AdWords broad match campaign on the phrase "used cars" might also show up for a search on "buy used cars" or "research used cars." The idea behind broad matching is to allow advertisers to reach more consumers without having to enter every single variation of a particular keyword phrase. Broad matching also allows advertisers to have their ad display for unique query strings that are searched rarely enough that they don’t show up when keyword research is conducted.

The AdWords system is setup to disable ads that do not achieve a high enough click-thru rates. Previously, advertisers running broad match campaigns with AdWords could have their ad dropped because their click thru rates on related phrases might not be high enough. The change to the AdWords system not only aims to improve the relevancy with which it places broad match ads, but will also examine click thru rates by individual search phrase and will cancel ads accordingly.

Google expects the update to improve the performance of advertiser's listings as well as to alter the percentage of click-thrus an ad receives and the cost per click paid by the advertiser. Google also stated that it plans to roll out other upgrades to the AdWords program later this year.
July 7, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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