About broad match modifiers

Broad match modifier gives you more control than standard broad-match. This option ensures that your ads only show in searches that include the words you've marked with a plus sign, such as +red +shoes, or close variants of these terms.

Broad match modifier terms that you designate with '+' can match to any part of a search. Additional words may appear in the search before, after or in between your '+' terms. For example, the broad match modified keywords +red +shoes can match a search for “shoes for sale that are red” or “red men’s shoes,” but not for “blue shoes” or “red hiking boots". This extra degree of specificity can help increase how relevant searches are to your ads, and improve your click-through (CTR) and conversion rates.

Your ad may also show for close variations of the individual “+” terms or the combination of these terms in the keyword.

This article explains what broad match modifiers are and how they can be used to help your ads reach more relevant customers.

How it works

By default, Google Ads 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 close variations of these terms or combinations of these terms into a single keyword.

Although a broad match keyword like tennis shoes may send a lot of relevant click traffic to your site, you may reach more searches than you originally intended.

Broad match modifiers ensure that your ads will only show when someone's search includes words that you've marked with a plus sign, such as +quick +hardwood +flooring installation, or close variations of these terms. Close variants for broad match modifier include misspellings, singular and plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, stemmings (like 'floor' and 'flooring'), implied terms, synonyms and paraphrases, as well as variants of your keyword terms that have the same meaning.

Broad match modifier is also eligible to serve on close variations of the whole keyword, in addition to using close variants for the individual terms.

For example, +hiring +diesel +mechanic may match to a search for “diesel mechanic part time jobs”. This search is closely related to the whole keyword of “hiring diesel mechanic”, even though “hiring” and “part time jobs” aren’t direct synonyms. Your ad wouldn't serve on searches for 'part time jobs' on its own. Learn more about close variants.

Note: The + modifier can only be used with the broad match type. There's no equivalent for exact and phrase match.

Broad match modifier takes word order into consideration. If word order is relevant to the meaning of the keyword, for example, +new +york +hotels broad match modifier may not always match searches with different ordering, for example new hotels in york. If word order doesn’t change the meaning of your keyword, for example, +france +hotels, then broad match modifier will match queries regardless of the word order, for example hotels in paris france. In these cases where word order matters, we recommend adding the keyword that expresses the additional intent to ensure that you reach all traffic relevant to your business.


Broad match modifier keyword Ads may show for these searches Ads won't show for these searches
+mens +shoes
  • shoes sale for men
  • footwear in style for men
  • shoes for guys
  • men's socks and shoes
  • men's socks
  • kids trainers
+lawn +mowing +service
  • services to mow my lawn
  • lawn mowing and edging service
  • grass cutting and gardening services
  • rates for services that cut your grass
  • gardening services
  • lawn aeration service
+aruba +holiday
  • all inclusive holidays aruba
  • holiday ideas in aruba
  • aruba cruises

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 queries matching your keywords, it in turn can decrease your expected traffic.

Best practices

We recommend doing the following:

  • Leave your existing broad-match keywords active (rather than editing or removing them).
  • If you've primarily used broad match keywords, consider adjusting your bids as you add modified broad match keywords. A higher cost-per-click (CPC) bid may increase your click volume and conversions.
  • Because modified broad match keywords will already capture searches that are close variations of your plussed terms, there's no need to build up multiple variations like +red +shoe and +red +shoes and +shoe +red.
  • You only need to add the + modifier to terms that are relevant to your product and you can exclude any prepositions, conjunctions or articles. For example, you'd add the keyword +restaurants +sydney instead of +restaurants +in +sydney.
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