How Google Ads’ Latest Keyword Change Affects Storage Businesses

Many of you who manage Google Ads campaigns may have received an update recently about Google changing how it handles phrase match and broad match keywords. 

For those of you who missed it, here’s a link to Google’s original post announcing the change.

This can make for confusing reading, so to try and help explain how this affects you as a self storage business, and what changes you need to make we’ve put together a quick guide. 

A Quick Refresher on Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifier Keywords

Before we go into what’s changing, let’s have a quick recap of what these keyword targeting approaches currently do. 

As you know, in Google Ads you can select different types of keyword matching options to choose how close a search has to be to your keyword in order to show your ad. This change only affects the phrase and broad match modifier match types. 

Phrase match – Created by putting quotes around your keyword e.g. “storage in London”.

Your keyword will match searches that contain the same words in the same order. E.g. “storage in London” will match the search “self storage in London” and “storage in London, England”

Broad match modifier – created by putting a + symbol in front of each word e.g. +storage +in +London.

Your keyword will match searches that contain the words anywhere in the search. E.g. +storage +in +London will match the search “storage in the city of London”, “the best storage companies in London” and any other phrase that contains the words “storage”, “in”, and “London”.

phrase match vs broad match

What’s changing?

Google is now changing phrase match so it matches to searches in a similar way to how broad match modifier currently does. 

Starting February 18th 2021, your phrase match keywords will start showing on searches that use the keywords in any order, just as the broad match modifier works. 

So after this change the keyword “storage in London” would show on the search “the best storage companies in London”. 

In short:

The new phrase match will be the same as the old broad match modifier – with one important difference. The new phrase match will continue to respect word order where it matters to the meaning of the keyword. 

This means that the keyword “student storage Birmingham” will show on searches for “storage for university students in Birmingham” but won’t show on a search for “Free USB storage for Birmingham students”. The old broad match modifier keywords would have shown on both of these searches.

Previously vs going forward

What’s happening to Broad Match Modifier?

Starting February 18th 2021, keywords with broad match modifier will change to this new matching behaviour as well, meaning that “storage in London” and +storage +in +London will match the same searches (broad match modifier will no longer match terms where the meaning changes).

Then, in July 2021, you’ll no longer be able to create new broad match modified keywords, instead you should create phrase matched keywords. 

Don’t worry, you won’t need to change your old broad match modifier keywords, they’ll still continue to work (using the new behaviour).


What do I do if I want the old behaviour back?

Depending on your use case you may want to show on the searches that would have triggered using the old broad match modifier keywords, but not with the new phrase match. 

Unfortunately, there won’t be a way to change this behaviour back. As this change hasn’t rolled out yet it’s not clear just how many searches will no longer be triggered with this new behaviour. 

However, it should be possible to capture all these missed searches by adding in new keywords to cover what’s no longer shown. 

Google’s recommendation for recapturing these old searches is to use broad match with smart bidding. However, your mileage may vary with this, and you’ll need to ensure you’re using negative keywords to remove the irrelevant searches that come from using this approach. 

Hopefully this post has helped to explain things a bit better, but if you have any questions about this change, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’ll be happy to help.

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