SEO companies have always advised against use of broad match in Google AdWords. That’s when you give Google free reign to show your ads for searches ‘related’ to the one you ask to advertise for.

For example, you might ask to advertise for ‘video production’ and the idea is that Google will also show your ad when people search for ‘video creation’ as well.

This is a lazy approach and spreads your ads wide, but at a high risk of being shown inappropriately, causing your click through rate to drop, your quality score to drop and therefore your position to drop and your cost to increase. Not good then!

In reality broad match can be useful with several word phrases to catch some broad traffic. However one recent case we came across highlights the dangers of using it:

Whilst giving some SEO advice to a company I reviewed their AdWords setup. It was a usual first stab at AdWords with just one group containing a bunch of broad matched words, including the above term ‘video production’. Whilst showing how this was a bad thing to do we looked at the search terms this had triggered for – a facility offered by AdWords. I couldn’t believe my eyes to see that google had shown their ads when somebody typed is simply ‘youtube’. WHAT?! So Google had seen us advertising for ‘video production’ and shown our ad when somebody just typed in ‘youtube’ (and every spelling variation you could imagine). That is utter madness and an indication that 1. Broad matching is evil, and 2. Get professional help before spending money on Google AdWords.

The real tragedy is that the majority of their spend budget was consumed by people clicking on these ads and not on ‘video production’ – over £300 burnt on nothing in just a couple of months.

Please please please don’t throw money away like this – seek professional advice before dipping into Google AdWords, it will save you money!