Lower Your Cost Per Click with These AdWords Tricks

If you are like most PPC managers, you are spending too much for your clicks. Thanks to one overlooked Adwords adjustment, you could slim down your spending while still reaching the same audience that keeps your business thriving.

By revisiting the modified broad match type on your keywords, you could protect your targeted results while chiseling away at costs. Plus, what you get in the long run is far more helpful. Enjoy improved ROI with the luxury of meaningful insights.

First, a comparison

Consider the manageability of an Adwords campaign. Your management strategy starts with early steps like ad group creation, keyword selection, and ad copy writing. Then it extends to cover results, measurement, and action.

Line of manageability from easy to intensive

Having a broad match-heavy lineup would be on one end of the manageability spectrum. Going full-force with exact match is the other. But neither approach is perfect for your entire campaign.

Broad Match

Broad match keeps your net wide open, and there’s hardly a need for more than one keyword per ad group. The convenience is tempting, but the end results are rarely profitable. Here’s why. Look at some of these actual broad match results–a scary reality of good intentions gone wild:

Ad appeared on this search term but this was the original keyword chart

It’s the troublesome side of related words at work here. But Kenmore’s unfortunate map-match has nothing to do with appliances. Not even appliance sales or repair. This address leads to Kenmore Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning!  Here are a few more.

Ad appeared on this search term but this was the orginal keyword chart copy

The specific keywords of Ritz-Carlton and a 13×19 printer get diverted to vague phrases, and the platinum ring match is a flat out wrong destination.  You pay for the convenience of set-up with irrelevant clicks. Bounced landing page visitors still cost you the click.

Ad appeared on this search term but this was the orginal keyword chart copy

Phrase Match, Exact Match

Getting to the far end of this spectrum turns the issue of relevancy on its head. Here, your exact matches are completely relevant, and your phrase match results are tightly targeted. You pay a higher cost per click for exact match keywords, but the searches that trigger your ads are 100% what you asked for.

On the manageability end, though, relying completely on exact match puts you in a time bind. You can count on hours or days ahead of you brainstorming every possible long tail variation necessary for thorough coverage. Your ad groups will provide excellent direction, but if you can’t devote intensive time to creating keyword after keyword for each group, the exact match approach will overwhelm your attention span.

Phrase match is a step toward improvement but still difficult to ensure coverage. It doesn’t trigger plurals or close variations. Phrase match is helpful, but still stubborn.

Managebility checked marked yes and relative ROI red X for no copy

It seems there’s a sweet spot that blends manageability with good ROI.

Keyword match types from easy to intensive

Return to Broad Match, sort of.

Google’s Modified Broad Match fills this void.

Modified broad match allows the flexibility of traditional broad match without returning a slew of irrelevant matches. It’s like putting reins on broad match without the tight restrictions that come with phrase match.

Add a (+) modifier (without spaces) in front of any word you want to include. The matched results include similar variations of the word like misspellings and stemmings (like turning “buy” into “buyer” and “buying”).

Modified Broad Match Keyword: +rent +cars

Could easily trigger “car rentals” but not “house for rent.”

What’s more, this match type makes up for phrase match’s biggest constraints. Modified Broad Match triggers plurals/single variations. And when you require two or more specific words in a phrase, other words can drop in between them.

Phrase Match Keyword “wood stain”

Results include: wood stain colors, waterproof wood stain, wood stain reviews, apply wood stain

Broad Match Keyword wood stain

Results include: grease stain, wood stain reviews, wood furniture, Tiger Woods

Modified Broad Match Keyword +wood +stain

Results include: wood after it is stained, wood stains for sale, staining wood,

Adding the (+) modifier before both words triggered them in the results. Using only wood +stain could have resulted in: remove stains, stained glass, how to stain a deck

What this means to your performance


Using modified broad match continues to help your campaign, long after you’ve set it up. Run ads. Learn from your results. Apply. Repeat. When you take an active role in measuring and adapting your campaign, it continues to grow on itself.

Fortunately, modified broad match assures that your decisions spring from a solid foundation.

Depending on how specific your phrase match and exact match keywords are, extreme long-tail keywords won’t deliver as much volume as a broad match or modified broad match variation. Performance clues taken from low volume data can be statistically meaningless—not much better than a guess.

If you are testing more than one landing page or more than one ad variation, you need more traffic. Otherwise, the low volume leaves you stranded with inconclusive results.

The hidden payoff lies in reporting and knowing what is working to bring in clicks and conversions. Adopting the modified broad match approach leads to enough clicks you can truly measure well—and get productive results in return.

This is as true for volume as it is for overall keyword count. Controlled results keep your total matches in check so you manage keywords that deliver meaningful returns.  That means you’re improving upon these keywords effectively. When you find a manageable number of keywords that attract 300 – 1000 clicks per month, you can draw well-calculated conclusions from that solid set of insights and apply them to your campaign with confidence.


If you rely mostly on phrase and exact match now, adding modified broad match keywords means lower costs for generally the same targeting. Start small. If you focus on phrase match keywords that convert well now, add the same phrase as a modified broad match so you can retain that conversion, but at a lower CPC.

Good-conversion phrase match: “replica hockey jerseys”  when turned into –> Modified broad match +replica +hockey +jerseys then triggers –> similar results with an improved ROI

showing modified braod match on the managebility chart

If it seems daunting, start small. Test a few ad groups and compare your costs. Plus, keep your eye out for matches that you hadn’t considered. They could be the launching pad for specific ad copy or new content.