Understanding Keyword Match Types

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Understanding Keyword Match Types
Diverse People in a Seminar About Digital Marketing

Keyword matching options are still a bit of a mystery to some people when they’re putting their first campaigns together. If this is your first foray into AdWords you can be forgiven for thinking that match types are the proverbial minefield.
However, you do need to learn about these as selecting the right one is crucial to the effectiveness of your goals and your budget, as each type will be triggered by a search in different ways. A simple introduction to the match types is shown below.




So, starting with broad match, this is the default option. This method is ideal if you haven’t time to build your keyword lists and you want to achieve the highest possible amount of traffic. By using this match your ad may display if the search term contains your keyword(s) in any order. You ad may also show for any close variations. Be careful though as broad match can use up your budget very quickly so you should also use negative keywords so that you avoid irrelevant traffic.


Broad Match Modifier

If you add a “+” sign in front of any of your keywords that are part of your broad match key phrase, the ads will only show when a search contains those terms or close variations of the modified terms that you have prefixed with the “+” sign. The search terms may be in any order but be aware that BMM will not work with phrase or exact match keywords.


Phrase Match

Phrase match can give you more precise targeting whilst helping you to reach more customers. In this case your ad will show when a search is instigated for your exact keyword or close variations. This match also has the benefit of displaying your add with additional words at the beginning and the end. With phrase match your keywords are less likely to trigger ads that are irrelevant to your service or product line.


Exact Match



This does exactly as it says on the tin. Your ads will only show when a prospective customer searches for your exact keyword. If a search is made with words before or after your keyword, your ad will not display. It will display however, if someone searches for close variations of your keyword. Exact match then, targets your keywords with more precision than the other match types.


Negative Match

Negative match is like a filter that will stop your ad showing for any keyword that is prefixed by a minus sign (-). This is a particularly good way to filter out unwanted or irrelevant traffic. This match can also be used with other match types including exact match.


Close Variations

Google will display your ads on close variations of your keywords. Typically this means that acronyms, misspellings, singular and plural versions and stemmings*. This will cut your workload down, as you won’t have to add close variations of your keywords separately.


And if in Doubt

Remember, if all this mumbo jumbo is just too much for you or indeed, if you are too busy running your own business, then an online marketing agency will do all this for you.



*Stemmings – This means that a prefix, suffix or pluralisation is added to turn the keyword into a new related word. For example, using the keyword “fish” as the root, variations such as “fishing”, “fished” and “fisher” can also trigger your ads thanks to a clever Google algorithm.