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  • Writer's pictureEllen Silva

Keyword Match Types: What Are Google Ads Match Types?

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

When you are new to creating PPC campaigns in Google Ads, there are a lot of lingoes that you need knowledge about so you don’t blow through your budget. The biggest area to be aware of is choosing the right match type for the keywords that you are buying, as it is essential to understand keyword match types for SEO and Adwords. These match types will help you control when your ads show, as well as prevent unrelated ads from showing.

Selecting the proper match type is crucial because it determines how closely the search query needs to be related to your keyword for your ad to appear. By leveraging the appropriate keyword match types in Google Ads, you can ensure that your ads show for the most relevant searches and avoid wasting your budget on unrelated terms.

Understanding and applying these match types effectively can make a significant difference in the success of your PPC campaigns.

Google Ads Keyword Match Types

There are three different types of keyword match types in Google Ads, including negative exact match and negative phrase match keywords. You should have a mix of these types, especially if you are starting a new campaign and want to see what keywords perform. However, be mindful of the number of keywords by match type so you aren’t too open to any result with Broad or too restrictive with Exact.

  1. Broad Match

  2. Phrase Match

  3. Exact Match

Let’s discuss the three match types and the pros and cons of each.

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match type, such as broad keyword match, can spend your budget as fast as a blackjack table can spend your money. Google wants you to use broad match because it gives them full liberty to find anything kind of close to the keyword. Sometimes you’ll see search terms that have nothing to do with the keyword you want to advertise in your PPC campaigns.

It can be very frustrating to see a completely different industry of search terms showing your ads. Be careful with how many broad-match keywords you use. It’s highly recommended that you use a broad match for 2 or more words.

Do not buy a broad match keyword that is only one word or you’ll run out of daily budget too fast. Modified broad match keywords are another option for a more targeted approach.

Examples of Broad Match:

B2B sales software

Hiring sales reps

Pros of Broad Match:

Less expensive in cost per click price than if bought as phrase or exact. You will get high search volume (impressions) and lots of clicks. You’ll reach the widest audience possible.

Cons of Broad Match:

There may be a lot of junk or irrelevant searches showing your ads. You may see that the click-through rate is high but the conversion rate is low because not all of the searchers are ideal for your business. Your daily budget will be spent much faster and you may run out of budget before the day ends.

In your Google Ads account, when you type in keywords to include in your campaign on the keyword list, Broad Match is the default match type. By typing the keyword by itself on one row with nothing else, it will be added as a broad match type. The other match types use apostrophes or brackets to specify the match type. There are examples shown below.

Using Negative Keyword Match Types to Your Advantage

The best way to counteract the irrelevant searches from displaying your ads is by using negative broad match keywords to stop that activity from repeating. Adding negative match or negative keyword match types to a campaign is an ongoing process that you should do regularly after reviewing your search terms list.

You will find terms that are outside your industry that you’ll want to block so use negative keywords to make your campaign smarter. A negative match type helps exclude your ads from irrelevant searches.

Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match type can be a great way to find similar keywords without being too broad. Phrase match should be used for keywords that are relevant to your business. Google will take that phrase and may find synonyms and related searches, but won’t stray too far from the original words used.

A searcher may type in a combination of the keywords in a different order and that would be matched and your ad was shown.

Google may add a word or find a close variant to your phrase match keyword. Using phrase match can definitely help identify new variants and plural forms of your keywords.

We also recommend you add some long-tail keywords as phrase match to find those searchers who really know what they are looking for. This will help both PPC campaigns and SEO efforts.

To add a phrase match keyword to your campaign, make sure you add apostrophes around the keyword phrase or change the match type to ‘phrase match’ on the keywords list.

Examples of Phrase Match:

“Find Mailing address”

“Phone number locator”

Pros of Phrase Match:

Google will find close variations to the keywords you enter, and they’ll be more relevant than if you used Broad Match. You’ll get a good amount of clicks at a reasonable price.

Cons of Phrase Match:

You may get some irrelevant search query traffic since Google can adjust the order of the keywords given. Negative phrase match keywords won't stop all irrelevant searches, but they can help filter out some unwanted traffic.

Exact Match Keywords

The exact match type is ideal for questions or phrases that describe a need and allow you to be very specific in your targets. You want to use exact match to really be clear to Google that you only want people who are searching exactly this query.

Because you are telling Google that you want these searches only, the volume will definitely be less and the cost per click will be higher. However, an exact match delivers typically better performance for dollars spent. Exact match gives you more control over which searches your ads appear on.

Consider using Exact Match Type for questions or phrases. Also, you may want to add variations with abbreviations that are common for that word, i.e. “lead generation” is sometimes abbreviated to “lead gen”. Having both of those options as an exact phrase match will ensure you are shown for either search query.

Google typically even has misspellings of keywords shown to users from the exact match, so you can benefit from those close variants. To add an exact keyword, use the brackets around the words or change the match type to an exact match from the keyword list.

Examples of Exact Match:

  • [how to find a recruiter]

  • [where to hire marketers]

Pros of Exact Match:

More targeted searches will deliver higher-quality results. You’ll typically see a higher CTR and conversion rate.

Cons of Exact Match:

The volume of impressions and clicks will be low. Cost per Click (CPC) will be higher than other match types for the same keyword(s) because you are so targeted in the type of search results you want to appear on. If you don't want your ads to show on irrelevant searches, an exact match is a good option.

How To See Actual Search Queries

In your Google Ads account, you should become familiar with the Search Terms report under the “Keywords” navigation on the left side. This report will show you the user’s search query that was typed into the Google search bar. By reviewing the list of terms, you can see how closely matched or irrelevant the queries are to your original keyword.

This search terms report helps identify new keywords to add to your campaign and potentially negative keywords that you want to add. A lot of your keyword research can be done by reviewing the performance metrics of the keywords and deciding if the additional keywords by match type are delivering and meeting your goals.

If you see a lot of bad matches from a certain ad group or keyword, you may want to consider pausing that ad group or keyword. You want to optimize your campaign and get the most out of your budget, and this is one way to see that your chosen keywords are driving the ideal customer to your site. Excluding your ads from irrelevant searches is crucial for a successful campaign.

Keyword Match Types

Match Types in Google Ads

You have the option to change your three keyword match types at any time. I recommend that you duplicate the right keyword match type and add that right keyword as a new match type instead.

That way you can keep the performance data of each match type separately, whether you have both keyword versions running live or one or the other. Maintaining the performance data is essential to learning what works best for your Google campaign.

Using keyword match types, such as phrase and exact match keywords, single keyword ad groups, and other keyword match types for Google Ads available, can greatly impact the performance of your PPC ads. Properly managed PPC keywords and a well-optimized Google Ads campaign can lead to better results for your business.

Steps to Duplicate Keywords with New Match Type:

  1. Click the checkbox next to the keyword you want to duplicate

  2. Click the “Edit” menu in the top blue bar

  3. Choose “Change Match Types” and “Change all match types” in the menu

  4. Pick a different match type in the drop-down you want

  5. Check the box that says “Keep original keywords and create duplicate keywords with new match type”

  6. Click “Apply”

Hopefully, the information shared here is helpful to you! Read more from Data Bid Machine by visiting our main blog for marketers page. Please reach out if you are interested in hearing more about our SEM Services.



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