Google Ads is updating the phrase and broad matching behavior of keywords starting on the 18th February, and this is long-awaited good news! You’re probably wondering why are these changes positive? In this blog, we will be gathering some more detailed explanations surrounding the new Google Ads updates that we believe, will be crucial for your business’ current PPC campaigns.

The new matching behavior explained

To summarise, phrase and broad matched keywords will match the same users’ queries, which means that your ads will be triggered by more specific meanings as your keywords.

In other words, phrase matched keywords will drive more traffic and broad matched keywords will drive slightly less traffic.

Besides, the keywords will be matched more accurately to users’ queries, which leads to spending much less on queries that aren’t especially relevant, and driving more traffic on any phrase matched keywords. On top of that, to simplify further the keywords matching, Google will fully replace the broad match by this new phrase match in July. So, starting on July, we’ll be using phrase matching fully, simpler and more effective, aren’t this good news?

How this genius idea came up?

Google is continuously trying to understand more users’ intents to make it easier for businesses of any type to reach their targeted audience. Which allowed them to match used keywords with the meaning of query rather than the term being searched. In this process, they found out that phrase match and broad match modifier generate the same searches and that combining them might help targeting only the right customers.

Match types explained

The exact match type is usually used for precision, broad match is used for an extended reach and phrase match and broad modifier match are quite a balance for both.

The new matching behavior is about combining phrase match and broad modifier match types for a better reach while gaining more control. In other words, keywords on phrase match will cover additional broad match modifier traffic serving the same use cases, while the respect of word order condition will remain when it’s judged necessary for the meaning. This combination saves a lot of time to focus on larger objectives.

Updates Schedule

To avoid any disruption, these updates will be implemented progressively through different stages over months. Starting on February, the new matching behavior will be automatically applied to both the phrase match and broad modifier match. You don’t need to take any action at this stage and your data on performance will remain the same. In July, the phrase match will fully include the broad modifier match which means you won’t be able to use keywords on broad modifier match. But hey don’t worry, the ones that you’re already using in the account will remain, they’ll just be running under the new behavior matching. That say, we recommend you to start using keywords on phrase match from now on.

Make the most of these changes

To make the most of this opportunity, working with an experienced PPC Agency is recommended. Although, you can stay ahead of these updates and make the most of them, using the following tips:

  • Keep an eye on traffic fluctuations: adjust budgets and any other adjustments if needed based on performance.
  • Checking the recommendations given by Google should be daily habit. It gathers for you new keywords that might be relevant to add for your business, and advise you on the duplicated ones to remove from the account.
  • Exclude non relevant keywords by negative matching them to focus only on the most relevant searched and meet your business objectives. If you were already doing it, keep going, the new behavior matching doesn’t change anything on negative match.


Google is continuously improving keywords match types to simplify campaigns’ reach, relevance and performance allowing businesses to deliver to the most relevant searches and reducing costs on non-relevant users’ queries. The ultimate goal of these improvements is to make it easier for you to control keyword matches on users’ queries and to reduce the whole account complexity.


Polaris is an award-winning B2B SEO agency in London specialising B2B, PPC, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.

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