Google Ads Makes (More) Changes to Keyword Match Types

Nick Fitzgerald

According to a recent report, Google will begin rolling out some critical updates to Google Ads to make it easier for marketers to reach customers regardless of how they browse. Continue reading to learn more about these changes and how they can affect your hearing practice’s Google Ad campaign.

Before we get started, let’s look at how critical keywords are in a typical Ads campaign. Advertisers choose a list of keywords relevant to their services, the ones customers are most likely to use while searching for their products. Advertisers then bid on these keywords, with each bid based on how much a Google user is willing to pay to click on their ad. Google ads that appear on the search engine results pages appear starting with the highest bidder. The advertiser is charged a fee when search engine users click on the advertisements (known as the cost per click, or CPC).

Types of keyword matches

Using different keyword match types, including long-tail or short-tail keywords, will make a big difference in your Google Ads campaigns. The following are a few of the more popular types:

Broad match: Broad match keywords allow you to reach the largest possible audience, allowing you to drive more traffic to your website. The default match form in Google Ads is a broad match. You must be ready for Google to show your advertisements for a much wider variety of search queries if you add keywords without special symbols such as [ ] and +. The broad match style keywords have the most disadvantages of the three options: the traffic to your website will not be targeted; most visitors will be random people who stumble upon your ad, and some of the keywords for which your advertisements will be displayed might be completely unrelated to hearing aids.

Phrase match: These keywords are formatted in quotes, like “keyword.” Ads are eligible to show up for searches that include your keyword’s meaning and can be more specific than your keyword. For example, if the keyword is “hearing aid,” the ad might show for “phonak marvel” or “hearing device.”

Negative match: These are different from the other match types in that negative keywords specify which words you don’t want your ads to show up for. So if, for example, you don’t want to show up for medicare searches, you could add “medicare” as a negative keyword to block your ads from showing.

What changes were made last month?

Google will begin modifying phrase matches on February 18th, making it more similar to broad match. Simultaneously, broad matches will be phased out in favor of phrase keywords. This update will be implemented entirely by the summer.

This transition comes as no surprise to us, as Google updates its match type structure regularly. The company does this to help create more search traffic for advertisers while also preserving search relevancy in most cases. Another explanation may be that search algorithms are set to become more efficient, removing the need for a tightly-knit account structure.

How will this affect the performance of my Google Ads?

Changing the way a match type works has an impact on which searches your ads qualify for. Google will begin implementing this transition very soon, and marketers will see some traffic and cost variations in their accounts. There will undoubtedly be some instability in all industries as the world of paid search marketing recalibrates this new system. 

Even though we have some time to make these changes, Google recommends that marketers start switching Broad Match keywords to phrase match to prepare for the inevitable end of the broad match type, which is expected to happen by the end of 2021.


As the ground below us shifts once more, keeping on top of the changes and continuing to optimize your Google Ads campaign can be a tall order. Many hearing practice owners struggle with the level of dedication required to succeed with paid search or display ads. At AuDSEO, we are always on the lookout for changes in the industry so that we can optimize your ads accordingly for maximum performance. Contact us today for a consultation.