How to Change Keywords to +Broad +Match +Modifier Using Google AdWords Editor

  by James Svoboda
  June 28th, 2011

Google AdWords PPC Keyword Matching: Exact, Phrase, Extended Broad and Modified BMM - Broad Match Modifier (Printable Version)

In June of 2010, Google AdWords released their new keyword matching option called Broad Match Modifier. They did so without offering a simple or easy way for PPC advertising professionals to convert existing keywords to these new BMM versions.

Pay-Per-Click managers know that creating or converting keywords into BMM versions for Google AdWords can be a major pain in the @$$. You typically would have to either edit each keyword by hand or use a one of the existing keyword modifier tools. These tools would require you to copy your search term list into an excel spreadsheet or web-based form that would help to perform the modifications, then you would have to copy them back into AdWords or AdWords Editor. These are handy and have a couple of interesting features, but I’ve never found one that is as easy to use as the process I discovered almost by accident.

Broad Match Modifier was released for use by AdWords advertisers in Canada and the United Kingdom a couple of weeks before the United States. Since I have a great Canadian client who trusts my decisions when testing out new features for their account, I was able to actively test thousands of modified broad match keywords weeks before BMM was released to US advertisers.

It was during this time, and out of necessity for changing those thousands of existing keywords, that I developed a simple process for converting current “Extended Broad Match” keywords into “Modified Broad Match” using nothing more than the free AdWords Editor desktop tool. The same process will work to convert Exact and Phrase match keywords into BMM.


Summary of Steps to Convert Existing Keywords to Broad Match Modifier

Creating and upgrading keywords to BMM is a short and quick 4 step process once you know the settings to select in Google AdWords Editor.

#1: Open AdWords Editor and go to the correct Keywords Tab.
#2: Select your Keywords, then Append Text with “+” to before existing text and create new keyword set.
#3: Replace the blank spaces ” ” in the selected keywords with a blank space and plus sign ” +”.
#4: Adjust Bid Levels and Change Match Type to Broad (if necessary).


Detailed Steps & Settings to Change AdWords Keywords to Modified Broad Match

Since there are many little settings to verify and change within AE, I have provided this detailed section with corresponding screen captures to help you get through the process your first time.


Step #1: AdWords Editor > Campaign > Ad Group > Keywords Tab

Google AdWords Editor Keywords Tab

Google AdWords Editor Keywords Tab {click for larger image}

The first step is to open AdWords Editor and navigate to the correct Keywords Tab for the Ad Group and Campaign that you want to modify.

*Reminder* Make sure that you download the current version of the campaign that you are going to be working on.


Step #2: Select Keywords and Append Text to Selected Items

Google AdWords Editor: Append Text to Selected Items

Google AdWords Editor: Append Text to Selected Items {click for larger image}

In the second step you will be combining several smaller steps for a streamlined result.

1. Select the keywords you wish to modify.

2. Right click on the selected keywords.

3. Click on “Append Text to Selected Items“.

Next the “Append Text” tool will open.

Google AdWords Editor: Append Text Tool

Google AdWords Editor: Append Text Tool {click for larger image}

4. Set the option for “In this column:” to “Keyword“.

5. In the “Add:” field, place the “+” (plus sign).

6. Choose the “Before existing text” option.

7. Check the box for “Duplicate Selected Rows and Append Text to Duplicates“.

8. Click the “Append Text” button.

Google AdWords Editor: Confirm Append Text

Google AdWords Editor: Confirm Append Text {click for larger image}

Next the “Confirm Append Text” dialogue box will open.

9. Check the box for “Select newly created items“.

10. Click the “Duplicate and Modify All” button.


Completed Keyword Duplication and Text Appended with “+”
Google AdWords Editor: Completed Keyword Copy and Text Appended

Google AdWords Editor: Completed Keyword Copy and Text Appended {click for larger image}


Tips on Keyword Selection for Modification

Multiple Word Order BMM Versions
You don’t need multiple versions of the same BMM keyword that are in different word order (+key +word -&- +word +key) or typically versions with short common words like “in” “the” “and” “or” and so on. I start with the versions that have the highest Quality Score or are in a more common phrase order and modify those.

Example: +Portland +PPC
[Portland PPC], [PPC Portland] and [PPC in Portland] all have a Quality Score of 7, then choose 1 to modify: +Portland +PPC

Singular & Plural BMM Keywords
When targeting keywords with Broad Match Modifier, you are essentially trying to tap into a larger pool of keyword searches. Since exact match keywords for singulars and plurals will have different levels of search volume (CTR, conversion rates and so on) so will the keyword pool that BMM’s will target. I recommend modifying both the singular and plural versions of keywords as this will help you spot trends and identify popular versions for which to write text ads and optimize landing pages.

Example: +Minneapolis +PPC +service(s)
For [Minneapolis PPC service] set to +Minneapolis +PPC +service
For [Minneapolis PPC services] set to +Minneapolis +PPC +services


Step #3: Replace Text in Selected Items (replace ” ” with ” +”)

Google AdWords Editor: Replace Text in Selected Items

Google AdWords Editor: Replace Text in Selected Items {click for larger image}

In step three you will be replacing the blank spaces ” ” in the selected keywords with a blank space and a plus symbol ” +”.

*Note* The keywords that you just created in step two should already be selected.

1. Either hit CTRL + H on the keyboard (PC users) -OR- right click on the selected keywords and click “Replace Text in Selected Items” in the menu.

Google AdWords Editor: Replace Text Tool

Google AdWords Editor: Replace Text Tool {click for larger image}

Next the “Replace Text” tool will open.

2. In the “Find text:” field, place a blank space “ ”.

3. Make sure “Keyword” option is selected from the “in:” dropdown menu.

4. In the “Replace with:” field, place a blank space and a plus sign “ +”.

5. Click the “Find matches” button.

Google AdWords Editor: Confirm Replace Text

Google AdWords Editor: Confirm Replace Text {click for larger image}

Next the “Confirm Replace Text” dialogue box will open.

6. Click the “Replace All” button.


Completed Replacement of Blank Spaces with Blank Space and Plus Character “ +”
Google AdWords Editor: Completed Text Replacement

Google AdWords Editor: Completed Text Replacement {click for larger image}


Step #4: Change Bids and Match Type (if necessary)

Google AdWords Editor: Change Match Type to Broad and Adjust Bid Levels

Google AdWords Editor: Change Match Type & Adjust Bid Levels {click for larger}

Now that you have a duplicate set of fully modified keywords, it is a good time to change the bid levels and set the keyword match type to Broad.

*Note* The keywords that you just created in step three should already be selected.

In the “Edit Selected Keywords” area below the keywords:

1. Change the “Match Type” to “Broad“.

2. Adjust the Bid Levels “Max. CPC Bid” for the new BMM Keywords.

*Tip* I always set my initial BMM bid levels at 70%-80% of the initial bids of Exact match keywords. This is my initial approach so that BMM versions do not siphon off click and impression attribution data from where I really want to see it. It also helps to protect my cost-per-conversion level against the unknown and potentially unwanted keywords that Modified Broad Match will generate.


Completed Modification for Broad Match Keywords

Once you have completed the replacement of the empty blank spaces with a blank space and plus character “ +” you will be finished with your modifications and ready to review and upload. 

Google AdWords Editor: Completed Conversion of Broad Match Modified Keywords

Google AdWords Editor: Completed Conversion of Broad Match Modified Keywords {click for larger}


Well, there you have it. This trick has saved me countless hours over the past year and I hope it does the same for you!


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9 Responses to “How to Change Keywords to +Broad +Match +Modifier Using Google AdWords Editor”

  1. hornswaggled Says:

    Great tip, I have been slogging away adding them manually. This will shave some time and get me to happy hour a bit quicker.

  2. 21 PPC articles to bookmark now Says:

    [...] How to Change Keywords to +Broad +Match +Modifier Using Google AdWords Editor: It’s not only the SEOs of the world who are looking to save time with their keyword lists. In this post, PPC pro James Svoboda of Web Ranking Search Marketing Blog shares a quick four-step process for converting a long list of Google AdWords keywords into broad match keywords (with a nifty little education on what broad match keywords mean in Google AdWords, too). He says it has saved him countless hours. [...]

  3. Bronwen Says:

    Wow – great article here James. Massive time saver. Keep blogging great time saving tips such as these! Much appreciated.

  4. Chris Says:

    Awesome tip and a great timesaver!

    I’ve been seeing BM keywords causing phrase and exact match to not show at times lately getting a duplicate keyword warning in Adwords. I’ve been separating BM keywords into their own campaign because of this.

    The added benefit of this is that you get better data for your phrase and exact match keywords because you can know either exactly (exact match) or close to (phrase match) what people are typing in vs. broad match.

    Thanks again for the great tip! Keep it up!

  5. Travis Says:

    Appreciate the detailed instructions and was able to walk through your example on one screen and make changes in Adwords editor on another screen. Worked exactly as I wanted and big time saver. Thanks!

  6. Melissa Says:

    Thanks for covering all of the bases on this. I am currently experimenting on a small level, but if we decide to apply it to our massive keyword lists, I will need this to do it in a timely manner.

  7. How to Adwords Editor to Change Broad Match Keywords to Exact or Phrase Match Says:

    [...] have to tip our hat to James at WebRanking.com for his informative article on “How to Change Keywords to +Broad +Match +Modifier Using Google AdWords Editor” as this is where we first learned this HUGE time saving [...]

  8. chris Says:

    great info, spent countless hours doing this the old fashioned way using an excel spreadsheet to find and replace.

  9. Andy Kuiper Says:

    Slick – thanks James :-)

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