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AdWords Keyword Match Types Explained

Keywords in AdWords are used to control which searches trigger your ad, but there are many variations on the default match type that can be used in order to better regulate your return on investment. 

Let's go over the different types:

Broad Match

Broad match keywords are the AdWords default and are the most "non-specific" you can get. When using this type of match, Google states that your ads will run with "relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren't in your keyword lists." Those variations will include misspelled words, stemmings, synonyms, lower and upper case words, etc.

How to use:
A broad match keyword is a combination of words entered as-is, without any symbols. For example, montreal marketing companies would be entered in the same way.

Broad match modifier

Modified broad match keywords let's you specify keyword terms that must appear in the search terms to trigger your ad. As with regular broad match, close variations will be included, such as misspelled words, stemmings, lower and upper case words, etc. but will not include synonyms. 

The broad match modified keyword is identified by a + sign in front of them (no space between the + and the word).

How to use:
If your search query was montreal marketing +companies, the user searching for montreal marketing companies in Google would see your ad show up because it includes the word "companies" specifically. Your ad would not show up if someone searched for montreal marketing agencies.

Google advises users that "modifiers add more specificity to your broad match keywords, and therefore narrow their reach. So, while using a broad match modifier can increase the relevance of your keywords, it in turn can decrease your expected traffic."

Also, keep in mind that it may not always be useful to use a + before each word (+montreal +marketing +compagnies). Doing so is essentially the same as the phrase match "montreal marketing companies".


Phrase match

Phrase match keywords are used to show ads to searches that match a phrase or a close variation of that phrase, with words added before or after. The ads won't show if the words in the phrase are reordered or if any have been added to the phrase.

The phrase match is identified with quotation marks before and after the keyword phrase.

How to use:
If your keyword phrase contains "montreal marketing companies", your ads will show only for search phrases that include those words, in that order. For example, top 10 montreal marketing companies would trigger your ad, while montreal top 10 marketing companies would not.


Exact match

Exact match keywords are used to trigger ads that exactly match the keywords entered into AdWords.

The exact match is identified with brackets before and after the keyword phrase.

How to use:
If your exact search term was [montreal marketing companies], then your ad would only show when someone searches with those exact keywords. This can be especially useful if you know exactly what search terms people use to find your services or products.


Negative match

These words are used to tell AdWords what keywords you do not want your ads showing up on.

Negative match keywords are a great way to improve ROI and should be used by all AdWords users, but be careful not to pick too many negative keywords as your ads might have a smaller reach. 

The negative match is identified with a minus sign in front of them, or you can enter them in your negative keywords list.

How to use:
If your negative keyword is -agency, your ads would not show up if someone searched for montreal web marketing agency.

Questions or Comments?

Questions about this article or AdWords in general, please feel free to contact us.

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