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A Guide to Keyword Match Types


Choosing the right keyword match types in your PPC account can be the winning trigger for a successful campaign. Obviously the right keyword selection plays a huge role in PPC too, but the match types of those keywords are important as well. Hence, these settings help you control how closely the keyword should match the user’s search term, in order to trigger the ad. There are five different match types to help you optimise and analyse your selected keywords.

Broad Match

As the name suggests, this match type will trigger your ad for searches with similar phrases and relevant variations. It can be a single keyword or a string of several that will show up your ad when one of your keywords has been searched for.

Your keyword: red doors
Broad Match: red door, red, what kind of doors

As you can see, the searches will include any singular/ plural forms, synonyms and even misspellings of the keyword. Therefore, you are covering a big search area, but most likely you will have to fight with irrelevant traffic. Best use of broad match is, when you are looking for brand awareness and brand recognition. You will see an increase in traffic if you have the appropriate budget for it. Otherwise it is well tailored for customers who are still undecided about the product and don’t know about your services. Broad match can target these people by showing your ads to searches that include synonyms of your major keyword.

Great number of impressions – Low Click-Through-Rate

+Broad Match Modifier

Broad match modifier gives you the possibility to add so-called ‘modifiers’ shown as plus symbols, in order to include more keywords, which you deem important.

Your Keyword: +door +red
Broad Match Modifier: red door, red door on sale, where to buy a red door

By adding a + before a modified term in the keyword, tells Google that any keyword with a + in front has to be included in some degree in the search query. For instance if you have red door as broad match in your PPC campaign, the search queries triggering your ad would include red and door (plus variations). However, adding the + sign red and door will tell Google to use search queries including just those two terms in any order with other words in the query.

This match type will retain a high amount of impressions, but compared to the broad match type the search queries get more relevant.

“Phrase Match”

If you add quotation marks to your keyword, it automatically becomes a phrase match, which allows only search queries with that exact keyword or keywords in the same order with additional terms before or after it.

Your Keyword: “red doors”
Phrase Match: buy red doors, buy red door, why red doors

Using phrase match will basically trigger your ads if the search query includes the keywords in the exact order. Hence, if your keyword is “red doors” and the search query would be ‘red doors sale’, your ad could still be shown.

This match type does cut down irrelevant traffic up to a certain extent, but you can still get wasted impressions. However, fewer impressions lead to a higher CTR and quality score, which subsequently leads to less cost – perfect if you work with a limited budget on PPC.

Lower Impressions – Higher Click-Through-Rate

[Exact Match]

The title says it all – The keyword has to match exactly with the search query (misspellings are included), in order to trigger your ad.

Your Keyword: [red doors]
Exact Match: red doors, red dors

This match type will give you only relevant traffic and possibly a high conversion rate. Hence, with a small budget you can have some converting traffic with the exact match type. However, you will be limited to a certain amount of impressions your ad will receive.

Lowest Impressions – Highest Click-Through-Rate

-Negative Match

The negative match works vise versa, which means that your ad won’t show for the selected keyword.

Your Keyword: -dark
Negative match: dark red doors, how much are dark red doors, where can I buy a dark red door

As you can see this match type cuts down irrelevant impressions, in terms of removing all relevant terms you have entered with a minus sign in front. Effectively these negative keywords won’t trigger any of your ads. However, a negative keyword could be blocking relevant traffic as well, which you would see in a sudden drop of impressions.

Being careful about which match types you use is incredibly important, especially if you are working with small budgets. It’s also very important to keep monitoring your campaigns and are actively making adjustments on an on-going basis.