Google’s keyword match types is an excellent way to ensure that you are spending your money on Google Ad campaigns in a smart and savvy way. In turn, it also ensures that you do not waste your budget on unqualified traffic which will not bring you any ROI or very little at best.

For this reason alone, every marketer needs to know how the different keyword match types work for PPC ads, the kind of traffic they are capable of generating, and how to use them to maximise ROI.

What are the different keyword match types?

Google Ads offers four unique keyword match types: broad, phase, exact, and negative. Here’s a link which quickly explains what kind of queries each type will match for against any given keyword.

Now, let’s go in-depth into each one in order to understand the underlying context under which they can benefit you.

Broad match

A broad match, as the term implies, refers to ads showing in search results against queries related to the keyword’s meaning but not necessarily against the exact term. This is the default match type in Google Ads and tends to work very well with smart bidding.

So, you write or type out your keyword (syntax) and when people use that keyword to look for something, they will find results related to that keyword but not for that exact keyword. For example, if your target keyword is “Android case”, then your ad will pop up in queries related to “Best Samsung phone case” or “phone case”.

A broad keyword match is ideal for reaching a wide audience, but you are going to get unrefined visitors as the search terms they are entering is related to your keyword but not the exact keyword. However, that’s not to say that you will get unqualified traffic because Google takes into account each user’s search activities and then runs them across your landing page content as well as other keywords present in your ad group.

Phrase match

A phrase match will make your ads pop up in queries which match the same meaning as your chosen keyword or more specific forms of your keyword (long-tail keywords). You can add words before or after your search term, but not in between. You must place your target keyword between quotes like this: “Android case for Samsung S7”.

With the above phrase, your ad will show up in queries related to “Buy Android case for S7”, “Android S7 case for sale, “Black Android S7 case”, etc.

Phrase match is ideal for getting your ads in front of a more select audience because the ad is only shown in searches which include what your ad is intended for – audiences are more refined as a result.

Exact match

As the name implies, exact match means that your ads will only pop up in queries that contain the exact same meaning or underlying intent of your keyword. This may include abbreviations, accents, misspellings, and singular or plural forms.

This match type is also good for attracting refined visitors to your landing page although your reach will be limited. In this case, you will place your keyword between [square brackets].

If the target keyword is “Android case”, then your ad is going to show in queries pertaining to “android case”, “android cases” and “case android”, for example.

Negative keyword match

You’re probably wondering: why even use a negative keyword?

Well, these are very useful as they help in excluding your ads from specific queries so that you can focus on reaching your ideal audience members only. Therefore, your ads will show up only after users key-in the relevant terms, although not for the exact term you have written down in your Google AdWords campaign.

Let’s discuss what negative keywords mean in terms of the above three match types:

Negative broad match – This is the default negative keyword. Your ads will not appear if the search query has all of the terms you’ve chosen, no matter in which order. As before, you simply write down your keyword without any quotes or square brackets.

If you check Google’s support page, they have used running shoes as a keyword, indicating that your ads will show up for queries related to running shoes and blue tennis shoes, but not for shoes running, running shoes, or blue running shoes.

Negative phrase match – In this case, user queries will not have the exact same keywords you have chosen in the very same order. And, if the query has additional search phrases, your ads will not be shown as long as the order is the same your keywords. As with regular phrase match, you must write down your keyword in quotes.

Just to give you an example, if the chosen keyword is running shoes, you ad will show in searches related to running shoe, shoes running, and blue tennis shoes, but not blue running shoes.   

Negative exact match – In this case, your ad will be excluded in queries which contain the exact keyword in the very same order you chose, without the need for any extra words. As before, you will write down your keyword in [square brackets]. As Google indicates on their support page, your ad will be displayed for running shoe, blue tennis shoes, shoes running, and blue running shoes, but not for running shoes.

Closing thoughts: Using keyword match types for the best ROI

It’s important to choose the right keyword match type as that means the money you spend on Google Ad campaigns will attract the right kind of traffic – driving better sales and maximising your PPC ad campaign ROI.

If you want to learn more about how keyword match types can help you maximise ROI of your Google Ads, speak to our Google PPC Ad experts now.

Published On: March 13th, 2023 / Categories: Marketing Strategy, Social Media /

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