How To Use Broad Keywords In Google Ads

When it comes to Google Ads, in general using “Broad” keywords is a bad idea. And to be honest, 90% of the time this is correct.

For example if we targeted the broad keyword “affiliate marketing” some search queries that may trigger our ads could be as below:

Affiliate Marketing Course

What Is Affiliate Marketing

How To Make Money Online

Affiliate Marketing Coaching

Work From Home Ideas etc. etc.

As you can see if were trying to sell a product, the targeting would be way too “broad” and we would probably lose a lot of money on clicks on people that aren’t exactly interested in what we are offering.

However these days with Google Ads click prices rising, a broad keyword strategy that is heavily modified can significantly bring down your CPA.

So if that sounds good to you, lets dive right in!

Step #1. Use A Long Tail Keyword (at least 5 or 6 words)

The key to using broad keywords in Google Ads effectively is to use a long tail version of your target keyword.

For example instead of “cooking course” you would use something like “best cooking course online for beginners”.

Or if you are a local business, instead of targeting “advertising agency” we would use something like “best advertising agency in Chicago” where we incorporate the location and another qualifier.

By using a long tail keyword, the search becomes much more targeted and gives Google less leeway to toss super unrelated search queries your way.

Step #2. Use A Ton Of Negative Keywords

As with any good Google Ads campaign, you’re going to have to incorporate a ton of negative keywords. And this is especially important when using a broad keyword.

If you’re not familiar with what a “negative keyword” is, it’s basically keywords that we don’t want our ads to show up for.

For example if I was selling an in-person cooking course, some negative keywords I would probably want to add are things like “free” (to get rid of freebie seekers) or related searches like “cookbook” or “online” which are related to what I’m offering, but probably wouldn’t result in a sale of my product.

Any time you launch a broad campaign for the first time, the first couple of weeks are going to be non-stop filtering of search queries, so be prepared to add quite a bit of negative keywords to your campaign because Google will throw a lot of junk queries your way!

If you’re looking for a great set of generic negative keywords to start with that you can use in your Google Ads campaign, there is a great list here.

Step #3. Set Your Bid To 25% Of Normal

When you’re first creating a long tail broad keyword campaign, my recommendation is that you set your bid to 25% of what it normally is. So for example if you are normally bidding $4 on an exact match keyword, bring that down to $1 and see how much traffic you get.

When you use broad match you’ll be able to pick up a lot of clicks for cheap, but also when we are first starting out we have to see what sort of search queries come in. Depending on what long tail version of your main keyword you choose, these incoming search queries can be pretty on point or be wildly off.

So again when we first launch our campaign it’s important we set a budget limit and monitor what comes in closely so we aren’t throwing money down the drain on unrelated searches.

Also as search queries start coming in, it’s important that we keep an eye out for unrelated searches and keep refining our negative keywords list. This likely will take 1-2 weeks to really get down.

Furthermore it’s important that you watch your search volume. If you can’t get any volume at a 25% bid, try to move up to 33%, then 50% etc. Typically though you’ll do just fine in the 25-35% bid area, at least this has been my experience.

A Real Life Example

So initially when I first ventured out into promoting my blogging course I used Google Ads to try to grow my email list so that I could sell my course to these people. So initially I targeted the exact search query “Start A Blog”. You can see the Google Ads Keyword Planner Data Below;

So of course like a good Google Ads advertiser I optimized everything in my campaign until my quality score was a 10/10, but even with the best quality score I was still paying about $3 per click. You can see the range of the keyword pricing for a page 1 listing is $1.51-$10.45, so pretty pricey.

So after optimizing the heck out of my landing page, the best CPA I could muster to get people to opt-in to my list was $19/lead. Pretty terrible CPA, but again at $3/click that’s what you’re going to get.

So from that point I decided to start a broad keyword campaign, but this time instead of targeting “start a blog” I now targeted “How to start a blog and make money”. So you can see we went from 3 words to 8 words, and it’s pretty specific (which is what we want).

So I initially started with 25% of my normal bid, so from $3 to $0.75. However at $0.75 I didn’t get any volume, so I had to eventually raise this up all the way to $1.20.

After running this broad campaign and of course using a lot of negative keywords, the majority of my search queries looked like below:

how to start a blog

how to make money with a blog

how do you make money blogging

how to blog and make money

how do you make money from a blog

blogging courses for beginners etc. etc.

So as you can see many of the search queries are close enough to someone looking to “start a blog”, and this was reflected in my CPA. After using a broad keyword strategy, I went from a CPA of $19 down to $9. This was mainly due to the fact my CPC went from $3 all the way down to $1.20, a 60% reduction.

Even though $9/lead was still not great, it was still a drastic improvement where I cut my CPA by over a half.

So you can see here that if you can pay a lower CPC for clicks closely related to what you’re trying to target, your overall CPA can come down dramatically. This is especially helpful if you are in a niche where the CPCs are really expensive, so definitely look into this if that sounds like you.

Something you’ll also notice when using a broad keyword strategy is that your conversion rate is likely to go down (which is expected), however since your CPC has been lowered considerably, you should still come out in the end with a lower CPA.

Anyway I hope this gets you thinking about experimenting with broad keywords in your Google Ads campaign. It’s a great way to lower your CPCs and CPAs, so definitely test the waters and see if it works for your business. I think many of you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Richard Yoshimura

Entrepreneur. SEO Consultant. Marketing Enthusiast. I'm here to help you build better websites that make you more money.

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