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Expanded matching flat busted

Adwords displays keywords you have not bid on



12:27 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey, folks,

Some strange behavior lately in AdWords. One of our clients (Charles P. Rogers) has google ads on "brass beds" and "iron beds." They've decided to pause the "brass beds" campaign for a while now, to re-allocate spending to other ads. So I paused the ad group yesterday. But Google AdWords still displays their ads on the keyword "brass beds" (it displays the "iron beds" ad). In fact, Google is even displaying the "iron beds" ad on the keyword "beds!" Neither "beds" nor "brass beds" are keywords in our campaigns.

I know all about broad matching and extended matching triggering ads when your sponsored keyword is the stem of the search (e.g., displaying an ad for the search "buy iron beds" when "iron beds" is the keyword), but showing up for *less* specific searches just doesn't make any sense. If I bid on "real estate" does this mean my ad will show up for "estate?"

Google support says this is a "feature" of expanded matching. I call it a serious bug, with no workaround, since putting in a "negative match" for "beds" would cause the whole ad group to be disabled.

Any other thoughts?



7:09 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just hope it is a bug and taken care of soon! Else it would be just a huge drop in quality.


7:50 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Expanded broad match has worked that way for at least a year. There was an outcry when first introduced, but that's just the way it is.

>>with no workaround

1. Don't have "iron beds" in your KW list without quotes


2. Use exact/phrase match combination in your negatives eg.



1:54 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thanks for the suggestions. But if I don't do broad matching on "iron beds" (e.g., without quotes), then the ads won't display for searches like "buy an iron bed" or "I really really want to buy 2 dozen expensive iron beds right now" which would not be ideal. I already use Wordtracker to put in as many different specific search phrases into the campaign as possible (over 500), and apply negative matching to over 100 keywords that are not relevant. But I like to use broad matching to accomodate unknown searches that include the terms.

If I do negative matching on "brass" then the ads won't show up for "brass and iron beds" which they DO want to show up for, since they have iron bed models with brass accents.

But -[beds] and -[brass beds] will help, at least to disable the ones we know about (but not the ones we don't).

Again, thanks for the suggestion. I wonder how many AdWords clients are being affected by this and have no idea? At least it explains the drop-offs in click-through and conversion rates.




3:53 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

if you have "iron beds" as a phrase match (ie. with the quotes) then it means your ad should still show for searches on terms including "iron beds" in that order. In other words your ad should still show for searches on "buy iron beds" but wouldnt on "iron beds buy".

You may also want to look at using more specific terms for broad match eg "buy iron beds" (withougt quotes) as this should mean the ad is less likely to be triggered by less relevant searches.


4:18 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Doubtful using negatives will help if the display is being caused by "expanded" broad match.

For example:

if you have a keyword like california car dealer

and, you ad displays for sacramento car dealer

negating -sacramento may NOT fix the problem... because (Google tells me) the display is being generated by the california car dealer ad!


4:27 pm on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Not sure if this will help or hurt, but I often refer to AWA2's responses in this thread re: negative keywords:


Lot's of confusing chatter to wade through though... mostly mine. :) But, there's a lot of value to extract.


3:57 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>Doubtful using negatives will help if the display is being caused by "expanded" broad match.

Negative matching does work. I did a negative match on [beds] and on [brass beds] and now the ad does not display for "beds" or "brass beds" but it does display for "iron and brass beds" and "brass and iron beds."

Doesn't solve all the combinations that we *don't* know about that are being triggered by expanded matching. We may start auditing the logs (or at least keep a closer eye on the Urchin reports) specifically for Google searches and try to identify other inappropriate matches to add to the negative matches. they're also high in organic rankings for many of these keywords so sorting out the PPC from the organic search referrals will be fun (not).

But again, turning off broad matching would be a case of the cure being worse than the disease. We can't predict exact keyword order of prospective customers, nor do I want to specify phrase matching of every possible combination (already have 500 keywords in this one ad group).

But thanks everyone for the suggestions. Very helpful.



4:24 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recently had a deep look at referering searches for broad match keywords in Google. Depending on the keyword, if there are other keywords that have a similar meaning then they will show your ad there (my guess is particularly if there are a low number of advertisers) to help monetise the tail searches.
In your situation guess the only way round would be to exact match all of the phrases that you must appear for and move off broad match completely. Getting a view of your referers over a reasonable time frame should show you whats good / not. The broad match does some of the work for you as you say - dont want to move away from prospective customer searches you havent thought of, maybe two campaigns one which uses campaign level negative keywords and the other exact match beds keywords only.

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