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What does in front of a keyword mean?

[ Edited ]
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# 1
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I am taking over an existing Google Adwords account for my company. Some of the keywords have a + in them. For example: "+custom box making" what is the plus doing?

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Accepted by topic author Chris G
January 2017

What does in front of a keyword mean?

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# 2
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The plus sign "+" is a broad match modifier.
If you place a plus sign before a keyword this keyword (or it's close variations) must be included in search term.

You can read more about broad match modifier here:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497702

And generally about keyword matching options here:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497836?hl=en

What does in front of a keyword mean?

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# 3
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Using the + sign in a keyword creates a "modified" broad match.  It means that the word, or a close variation of it must be used within the search term in order to match with the keyword triggering display of your ad. 

 

It is a tighter form of matching that "broad match".  Broad match can be a little treacherous because it matches to a lot of search terms which are quite different than the keyword. They call it broad match for a reason!

 

When using modified broad match, you can apply the + sign to some of the words in a keyword, but not others.  For example, you could use:

 

 +door +protection extreme vandal

 

or 

 

 door protection +extreme +vandal

 

And they would match quite differently.  So modified broad match is a powerful tool to sculpt how your keywords match to search terms. 

You'll find modified broad match to be a useful tool. 

 

I like to use modified broad match sort of as "fishing lures".  I set them up so they attract likely search terms, then monitor what search terms are matching up against them.  I then deploy those search terms as more narrowly targeted phrase match, exact match, and negative keywords.  Usually after a couple of months I can phase out the modified broad match keywords in order to arrive at a more narrowly targeted campaign.  Sometimes they are profitable enough to keep though, it depends upon the nature of the market for that keyword. 

 

hth

What does in front of a keyword mean?

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# 4
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Very helpful. Thank you for your response.