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Using broad match modifier

You can add a modifier to your broad match keywords to specify that certain words must be included in someone's search term to trigger your ads. Since broad match modifier allows you to target searches that include at least one of your keywords, it can help increase how relevant your traffic is to your ads, and thus improve your clickthrough (CTR) and conversion rates. To create a broad match modifier, just add a plus symbol (+) in front of one or more words in your broad match keyword.

By default, AdWords uses the broad match option to target searches that include any combination of the words that comprise your keyword term, as well as searches containing synonyms or other variations of those words (such as related searches). So although a broad match keyword like tennis shoes might send a lot of relevant click traffic to your site, you might reach more searches than you originally intended.

With a broad match modifier, you're able to control and know exactly how your keyword would be broadened by requiring that certain keyword terms must be a part of your potential customer's search. If you specify that you want your ad to only show when someone's search includes both tennis and shoes, for example, then your ad suddenly becomes more relevant to potential customers searching for tennis shoes. This targeted reach can help your keywords achieve a higher clickthrough rate (CTR), which in turn can help your site get more paying customers or other conversions.

How broad match modifiers impact traffic and clicks

Modifiers add more specificity to your broad match keywords, and therefore narrow their reach. So, while using a broad match modifier can increase the relevance of your keywords, it in turn can decrease your expected traffic.

Here are some best practices if you want to get additional relevant clicks:

  • Leave your existing broad match keywords active (rather than modifying or removing them).
  • Add new modified broad match keywords to existing campaigns in a separate ad group to make it easy to compare new and existing keywords based on observed performance.
  • If you've primarily used broad match keywords, consider adjusting your bids as you add more relevant modified broad match keywords. A higher cost-per-click (CPC) bid may increase your click volume and conversions.
  • If you've primarily used exact and phrase match, adding modified broad match keywords may help you to reach more customers while retaining control over which search terms match your keywords.

Keep in mind that the broad match modifier feature only works when used with broad match keywords. If you want the increased click and conversion rates that can result from phrase or exact match keywords, you can try creating a separate ad group, and adding the corresponding modified broad match keyword for each phrase or exact match keyword.

If you currently have... ...You could add this modified broad match keywords to get additional relevant clicks
"buy blue suede shoes"
"purchase blue suede shoes"
"shop suede shoes"
+buy +blue +suede +shoes
+purchase +blue +suede +shoes
+shop +suede +shoes
"blue suede shoes"
"suede blue shoes"
"suede shoes blue"
+blue +suede +shoes

Setting up broad match modifiers

Just add a plus symbol (+) in front of one or more words in your broad match keyword. Each word preceded by a plus sign has to appear in someone's search exactly or as a close variant. Close variants include misspellings, singular and plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like "floor" and "flooring"). Synonyms (like "quick" and "fast") and related searches (like "shoes" and "boots") aren't considered close variants.


Don't leave space between the plus sign (+) prefix and the word you're modifying!

  • Correct: +leather +shoes
  • Incorrect: + leather + shoes
  • Incorrect: +leather+shoes

To create a new broad match modifier from scratch, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Under All campaigns,click the name of the campaign or ad group that you'd like to edit.
  4. Click the Keywords tab.
  5. Click the + Keywords button. Add keywords button
  6. Enter your broad match keyword, with a plus sign (+) preceding the word or words you want to to appear in your potential customer's search exactly or as a close variant. Add keywords
  7. Click Save.
Try it now

To add a modifier to an existing broad match keyword, follow these steps:

  1. Repeat steps 1-4 above to get to the Keywords tab.
  2. Click a keyword to edit it inline.
  3. Add the plus sign (+) prefix to any word(s) you want to include as required terms. Add a keyword inline
  4. Click Save.
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