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Steve Harris

We’re Waving Goodbye To BMM Keywords

22nd Feb 2021 Analytics, SEO Blog, Local Search, SEO Blog, Mobile Search, PPC Blog, Quick Vids 3 minutes to read

In a recent update by Google, they announced that they’ll be consolidating BMM and phrase match keywords, with the former being phased out completely by July.

For anybody who has run PPC campaigns before, you’ll know the difference between the match types. For those that haven’t, a simple way of putting it is that with phrase match keywords, you are eligible to appear for a search that has additional words before or after your keyword. With BMM, you are eligible to appear for a search as long as all of the words in your keyword. Here’s an example to help you understand.


KeywordMatch TypeExample Search Queries
‘flights to new york’Phrasecheap flights to new york, flights to new york jfk, flights to new york from london
+flights +to +new +yorkBMMdirect flights to new york, flights to london from new york

There has always been an element of risk with both match types as it can bring through searches that aren’t necessarily relevant. In the above example, the phrase match search terms might not be relevant as you may be looking for flights to New York  LGA not JFK. Similarly, the BMM search term ‘flights to London from New York’ is also irrelevant. However, it has always been so important to have these ‘broader’ match types to support your tight exact match keywords to help appear for searches that you may not have covered with exact match.

But, all of this is changing. BMM is on its way out and for many PPC managers, we’ll need to dust off the phrase match keywords that haven’t been needed for years and get them back in our accounts. According to Google, phrase match will replace BMM in July 2021. But the return of phrase match is not as we once knew it as the new phrase match V2 will encompass some of the searches that would have otherwise triggered our BMM keywords to show.

This visual below shows a before and after of phrase match and how it will include some of what BMM would have picked up, but not all of those queries.

As you can see the bottom query, which is irrelevant to the keyword, would have been picked up by BMM keywords, but will not be triggered by the new ‘updated phrase match’ keyword.

The change will be rolling out in the next few weeks, but thankfully we won’t need to change anything in our account as both phrase and BMM keywords will automatically switch over to the new match type. This ensures that we can keep any past data associated with the keywords and not have to start from scratch. It’s important to keep an eye on search queries and performance when the change has happened though. Although the changes to search queries should be positive, our advice is to check in to see how queries change through those keywords. As we have discussed in a previous blog post, Google have been limiting the search queries that are visible to us, so it’s likely you’ll have less visibility on the searches that are triggering these ads to show.

More importantly perhaps, is to check volumes of these keywords and to assess any impact on your CPC. We’d expect that impressions will reduce, but positively, as shown above, irrelevant queries will be filtered out and will not trigger an ad to show. We’d anticipate that CTR may increase and also CPCs may reduce. However, check this when the change has rolled out.

From July, we will no longer be able to create new BMM keywords meaning a change in PPC strategy and campaign naming conventions for most PPC managers, who up until this point, have structured campaigns using exact and BMM keywords. It is advisable to get into the habit of adding phrase match keywords from this point on as BMM will soon no longer be an option.

We don’t see this update causing too much of a problem. On the face of it, it sounds drastic, but when you read more and more about the update, the new phrase match keywords will include the good parts of BMM, without some of the irrelevant queries.

Yes, there may be a small impact on volume and a little bit of learning/adapting for PPC managers to move to phrase match, but in terms of actual impact on account performance, we don’t see there being much upheaval. Of course, keep an eye on the performance to see what impact this change has.

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Steve Harris

Head of Paid Media

When Steve isn't at work, you'll find him playing the drums in an 80s covers band, or coaching an under-10s football team. He's discovered a love for DIY; and listens to an eclectic mix of music from KISS to Kendrick Lamar, Metallica to Migos.

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