Modified Broad Match: Best Tool for Micro Niches and Keyword Discovery

Every PPC book you’ll ever read will tell you the errors of using broad match keywords on your list. They will tell you to use phrase match or exact match only. But secretly while all that discussion was taking place a new match type has emerged which has unparalleled power to quickly and easily target a wide myriad of keywords. It’s tremendously useful for keyword discovery and saving time with campaign setup. It’s called the modified broad match and this is how it works.

The Modifier

The modifier is the + sign placed in front of individual keywords in a search phrase. The + sign represents the keyword that must be present in the search phrase from the end user to display the ad to them.

This modifer can help you reach "I sometimes <3 you", "I think I <3 you" and "I want you to <3 me"

Fully Modified Broad Match Keywords

You don’t have to place a modifier in front of every word, you can choose a select few. But when you use a modifer in front of every word such as +green +Wellington +boots, it’s called a fully modified broad match as such your ads will be only displayed on search phrases which contain at least all three keywords. In many respects this works a bit like a phrase match by allows for words to be included at the beginning, end and in-between in the search phrase. This is ideal for essentially “sweeping up” all potential matches that would normally take you hours to produce on a exact match list.

With the above example your ads could be displayed on search phrases like “green high quality Wellington boots”, “cheap green Wellington boots” “Wellington boots that are green” etc. This technique is a good way to target granular keywords and various forms of your granular keyword with “filler words” inbetween.

A fully modified broad match can be use as a keyword for long term if you wish. Although there is some flexibility in the range of search terms it can trigger, it’s still specific enough to be highly relevant to your target market. For fully modified broad match to work effectively, it’s recommended that you use at least 3 words.

Anchor Modified Broad Match

You do not need to use modifiers before every word on your keyword, you can use it on some. Such as green +Wellington boots or you could use +green +Wellington boots. When you use an anchor modified broad match, the modifiers work as normal and the words without modifiers work as regular broad match. With the case of the single anchor modified green +Wellington boots; your ad could appear on search phrases like maroon teal wellingtons, green wellington shoes. People in the industry like to call keywords with one modifier as a single anchor modifier, and keywords with double modifier as double anchor modifier. They pretty much work in a similar way.

I would recommend that you use a negative list and built it up in order to use these partial modifier keywords as the likelihood of triggering irrelevant keywords is high.


Google and Bing do not talk about this feature much. I guess they like to keep things simple, but make no mistake this is a highly effective strategy, but it requires constant oversight in order to get right. Make sure you monitor the traffic that comes through to make sure the ads are being delivered to the right audience. You will need to use the negative keyword list quite heavily.