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Keyword Match Types

What Are The Google AdWords Match Types?

When creating a text ad in your AdWords PPC campaign, you can select broad match, modified broad matchphrase match, or exact match for your keyword match type. Each match type in your AdWords account has its advantages and disadvantages.

AdWords Broad Match Type

Broad match is the default match type and the one that reaches the widest audience. When using broad match, your ad is eligible to appear whenever a user’s search query includes any word in your key phrase, in any order. For example, if you use broad match on “luxury car,” your ad might be displayed if a user types “luxury cars,” “fast cars,” or “luxury apartments.” Google may also match your ad to queries using syllables – for example, your ad might display when someone searches for “expensive vehicles,” which doesn’t include any of the terms in your keyword.

Because broad matched ads are set up to reach the widest possible audience, searchers might see and click your ad when querying irrelevant topics, and these costs can add up surprisingly fast. Again, since broad match is the default match type, it’s important to be very careful. Broad match keywords are a great way to drive lots of clicks, but advertisers need to keep a close eye on their search query reports to ensure that they’re not paying for irrelevant traffic that doesn’t convert.

Example: luxury car
Searches that can match: luxury cars, fast cars, luxury apartments

AdWords Modified Broad Match

Broad match modifier allows your ad to show for searches that include your broad match keyword or close variations of your broad match keyword.

Example: +adopt +kitten
Searches that can match: adopt kitten, how to adopt a kitten, best kitten to adopt

AdWords Phrase Match Type

Phrase match offers some of the versatility of broad match, but like modified broad match, introduces a higher level of control. Your ad will only appear when a user queries your key phrase using your keywords in the exact order you enter them, but there might be other words either before or after that phrase.

For example, if your key phrase was “pet supplies,” your ad could appear when a user searched for “pet supplies,” “discount pet supplies,” or “pet supplies wholesale,” but not for searches like “pet food,” “pet bird supplies,” or “art supplies.” Since the query can contain text before or after your keywords, there is some flexibility, but you are leaving a lot of potential traffic on the table.

Example: “adopt a kitten”
Searches that can match: adopt a kitten, adopt a kiten, how to adopt a kitten

AdWords Exact Match Type

Exact match is the most specific and restrictive of the keyword match types. With this match type, users can only see your ad when they type your exact keyword phrase by itself.

For example, if your keyword phrase was “black cocktail dress,” your ad is only eligible to show up when a user searches for “black cocktail dress” (those words in that exact order) and not for “cocktail dress,” “black dress” or “expensive black cocktail dress.” On the plus side, users who click on your ad when searching for that exact phrase are more likely to be interested in your product or service, so using exact match can reduce unwanted costs and keep conversion rates high. On the down side, you will have less traffic as a result of your restrictions, because these more specific search queries have lower search volume, and you won’t get as many overall impressions.

Example: [adopt a kitten]
Search that can match: adopt a kitten, adopt a kiten

Negative match

Negative match ensures that your ad doesn’t show for any search that includes that term.

Example: -free
Searches that won’t match: free kitten adoption, free kitten calendars, who wants to free the kittens

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