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Google AdWords Keyword Match Types Explained

Setting up a pay-per-click (PPC) account in Google AdWords can be a very rewarding marketing technique for your business or organization! However, when these accounts are set up incorrectly, running online advertising campaigns in AdWords can become very expensive and result in a very small return on investment.

One of the most important steps when setting up your online advertising campaign in AdWords is to identify which search keywords that you want your ads to be associated with on the search engines results page (SERP). Google AdWords currently has three primary “match types” for setting up specific keywords for each of your ads.

Exact Match Type

Exact match types will tell Google that you want to show your ads to users who are searching for the exact keywords that you have entered or close variations of that keyword. Exact match types are entered into Google AdWords by placing [brackets] around your specific keyword. The exact match type can be used to define a single word or a phrase.

Example: [keyword] – this would tell Google that you want your ads to show whenever someone searches the term “keyword” or a close variation, such as “keywords.”

In the above image, we would be indicating to Google that we want our ads to show for users who search exact versions or close variations of the phrases “custom mirror” and “large mirrors.”

Phrase Match Type

Phrase match types are very similar to exact match types. However, this match type allows Google to be slightly more flexible and to exercise a bit more discretion when showing your ads. Phrase match types are entered into Google AdWords by placing “quotation marks” around the word or words you want to identify your ad with.

Example: “keyword” – this would allow Google to show your ad to someone who searched “keyword,” but also show for searches like “what are keywords” OR “what is the definition of a keyword.”

In the above image, we would be indicating to Google that we want our ads to show for users who search any phrase that includes “custom mirrors” (ex: “where can I order a custom mirror") or any phrase that include “bathroom mirrors” (ex: “what is the best way to clean a dirty bathroom mirror?”).

Phrase match types can be tricky to master and can make your ads show for a lot of unqualified searches. In the example above, if our goal is to sell bathroom mirrors, then having our ad show to someone looking for information on cleaning mirrors would not likely generate more business.

Broad Match Type

Broad match type is the most common type of keyword match type used by those that are new to Google AdWords. This match type allows Google to show your ads for the specific keyword(s) that you enter, but also for misspellings of those keywords, synonyms, relevant variations, and any other searches that Google reasonably believes could be related to your keyword.

In order to enter broad match type keywords into Google AdWords, there is no need to type any special symbols or characters, just simply enter the keywords.

Example: keyword – this entry would allow Google to show your ad for all kinds of search queries, such as: “what is a keyword” OR “how do you spell keywards” AND EVEN “what were popular words in the 1700s.”

In the above image, we would be indicating to Google that we want our ads to show for users who search any words or phrases that match, or could be relevant to, vanity mirror OR custom mirror.

This means that our ads would show when someone searches “where can I buy a custom mirror,” but this also means that our ad would show when someone search “where can I buy a custom made mirror ball.”

Following the storyline from above, if our goal is to sell bathroom mirrors, the searcher who was looking for a custom mirror ball would most likely not generate more business for us.

Broad-Modified Match Type

The final type of AdWords match type is my absolute favorite: broad-modified. This is a fairly new type of keyword match type to AdWords and if you have not tried it yet, I promise that it will quickly become your favorite too.

Broad-modified keywords are simple. This match type tells Google that you want your ads to be shown for only certain words, or close variations, and that these words can be in any order. Broad-modified keywords are entered into AdWords by adding a plus symbol (+) each keyword or each keyword in a phrase.

Example: +keyword +children – with this entry, Google would show your ad for any searches that included the words “keyword” AND “children,” but in any order. So in this case, our ad would show for the searches “what are keywords to use when teaching children” OR “what keywords will get a kids attention,” but NOT for “children’s toys” OR “what is a keyword.”

Looking to Work With an Industry Expert?

If your business or organization is serious about wanting to start an AdWords PPC campaign or if you are looking for a professional to manage your current AdWords PPC campaign, Full Media might be able to help you. We specialize in working with small and mid-sized businesses and organizations to help your AdWords campaigns deliver the maximum ROI.

Contact Full Media today to find out if an online advertising engagement is right for your business or organization.