Beginners guide to AdWords keyword match types

As a newcomer to AdWords, you’ll no doubt have started to create a list of keywords to drive those clicks and conversions home, but you may not yet have considered about the different types of keyword match types. It’s highly recommended you devote some time to this, as it can help to keep click costs down and increase your click through rate – it’s a win/win scenario if you get it right.

Don’t fret, though – it’s a lot simpler than it initially sounds: a keyword is a particular word or phrase which the advertiser (that’s you!) chooses to bid on. The keywords you choose will be relevant to the products and services you offer, and when these keywords are searched by a user, it will trigger your advertisement.

Exact keywords, broad keywords and everything in between

This is where it gets a little more complicated. There are five keyword match groups which range from exact to broad (there’s also negative keywords, but more about those later). Ultimately, the broader the keyword, the greater the reach of your ads – but go too broad and you run the risk of losing relevancy. For example, a company selling glassware with too broad a keyword match might start showing up during searches for glass window panes – a different market entirely.

Keyword match types explained

Let’s take a look at some example searches and how different keyword match types would work:

Broad Match

Keyword: “PPC Agency London”

May appear for: “PPC Agency”, “Pay Per Click London”, “Internet Marketing Agency”

Broad match ensures your ad will appear on similar variations of the original keyword. Variations encompass misspelled searches, acronyms, singular and plural forms and more. Broad matches are great for increasing your catchment, but can sometimes cause problems with close variations.

Modified Broad Match

Example phrase: “+PPC +Agency +London”

May appear for: “PPC Agency in London”, “London based PPC Agency”

Keywords with a “+” sign must appear exactly in a user’s search or as an incredibly close variant (such as a plural form or misspelling). Additional words may also appear in the search.

Phrase Match

Keyword: “PPC Agency London”

May appear for: “Best PPC Agency London”

Phrase Match keywords allow your ad to only appear for searches which contain the exact phrase, but it may also show for searches which include the exact phrase with additional words.

Exact Match

Keyword: “PPC Agency London”

Will only appear for: “PPC Agency London”

Exact Match is useful to target those who know what they want. Your ad will only appear for searches which exclusively match the phrase.

Negative Match

Keyword: “SEO”

May appear for: Other words similar to “SEO”, such as “Search Engine Optimisation”.

Negative match keywords ensure that your ad won’t show for searches including that term. For example, a search query for “PPC and SEO agency” won’t trigger an ad with “SEO” marked as a negative phrase. Negative keywords can also be match-typed in the same ways as positive keywords, with the exception of modified broad matches.

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