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A feature of Google AdWords that I have used often is dynamic ads, whereby the exact search phrase that triggered the ad is used in the ad copy. For example, if one of your keywords is “Atlanta Volvo dealership”, the top title of the ad could be “Atlanta Volvo Dealership.”

The syntax for inserting dynamic copy into your ad is:

{KeyWord:Default copy if too long}

Sticking with our example above, it would be:

{KeyWord:Atlanta Volvo Dealership}

Dynamic ads tend to do very well in terms of click-through-rate because they perfectly match what the person is looking for.

When this becomes a problem is when the search phrase that gets stuck in your ad does not at all match what you are selling or what the ad is about. And this can very easily happen when you use broad match keywords, and to a lesser extent phrase match.

A broad match keyword is one where you let Google decide if a search term used in a Google search is close enough to your keyword to target the ad. Sometimes it works well…sometimes not. In our example above, it is possible that the search term “used cars” would trigger the ad. If you sell new Volvos, “used cars” may not be words you want appearing in a particular ad.

Phrase match means that your keyword must appear in the search term exactly as you have it, but there can be other words around it. Most of the time this is fine, and it is a much stricter protocol than broad match. So in our example above, “directions to Atlanta Volvo Dealership” would trigger the ad, but not “used cars.”

With either match type, there is still a chance that words that don’t make sense or that aren’t appropriate for your product or service could appear in your Google ad. The way to know this is to look at the search terms that have triggered your ads. You can find that information by going to the Keywords page in your account and then clicking the Search Terms tab. If you look at that page and see many inappropriate search terms that would fit into your dynamic ad copy, then there is a chance those phrases are appearing in your ads.

The way to get around this is to use primarily exact match keywords. Exact match is exactly what it sounds like. The search term used by the Google user must exactly match the keyword. So in this case, as long as all of the keywords in the particular ad group (or the ones short enough to fit into the ad, at least) are appropriate to appear in your ad, then you’re good.

As much as possible, I recommend you use more exact match keywords anyway. Often I will set up a campaign with mostly exact match, and then if I see we’re not getting enough traffic, then I will start to loosen things up with more phrase match or broad match keywords. If you do that, be sure to check your Search Terms page often.

Another approach to controlling the search terms that show up in your ads is with negative keywords. Negative keywords instruct Google NOT to show your ad when certain search terms are used. When you see terms show up in your the Search Terms report that are inappropriate, you should add them as negative keywords.

Don’t let inappropriate wording in your dynamic ads cause problems for your brand or reputation, or generate clicks that are not right for your business. Maintaining a fairly tight control of what searches trigger your ads will go a long way toward making sure that doesn’t happen.