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Google Ads: What Are Keyword “Match Types”?

Google Ads keyword match types… what are they and why are they so crucial to successful Google Ads campaigns?

While the perception behind Google Ads is instant results, which is true, it can take many months to achieve the most cost-effective conversions possible.

What Are The Different Keywords Match Types?

For keyword match types, we have 4 different formats that articulate a set of different parameters for Google to take into consideration when displaying your ads on their search network.

Google Ads Match Types

Broad Match

Google makes it very easy to start accumulating clicks by placing your keywords as Broad Match which can become extremely problematic without an understanding of what this match type is about.

As the name indicates, Broad Match keywords allow you to reach the widest audience possible meaning that your ads are eligible to appear whenever a potential prospect searches any word in your key phrase, in any order. It also allows misspellings and synonyms to trigger your ads which can be extremely handy later on. For example, if you use broad match on the keyword “women’s hats”, your ad might show when a user searches for “men’s hats”, “women’s scarves”, or “girl fedoras”.

The wide reach of Broad Match keywords will generate an increased number of clicks you see on your ads, however, the problem is that a lot of those clicks may be coming from irrelevant traffic.

Broad Modified Match

The Broad Modifier match type is one of our favourites because it gives you the significant increase of reach that the Broad Match keywords help with, while also allowing you to be more restrictive around the specific queries that will trigger your ad.

Broad Modified Match keywords work by appending a ‘+’ to the specific word in your keyword phrase that you want to add or update within your campaigns/ad groups. Basically you are telling Google that you only want your ad to show when that word appears in the search query. The query can be in any order, but that one word needs to exist in it somewhere. To use the example from earlier, if you use a Broad Modifier on the keyword “ +women’s hats”, Google can show your ad when a user searches for “women’s fedoras”, “hats for women”, or “women’s clothing”, but will not show your ad when a user searches for “men’s hats”.

Broad Modifier

Phrase Match

Phrase Match is another one of our favourite match types because now you’re starting to take some control away from Google and giving it back to your campaigns. A Phrase Match means your ad will only appear when a user searches for your exact keyword phrase, in its exact order, but maybe with some additional words at the beginning and the end of the query.

As with most things in Google Ads, it’s way easier to see how this works in action, so let’s take a look. If you use the keyword “women’s hats” in Phrase Match, your ads are eligible to show for users searching for “red women’s hats”, “women’s hats for weddings”, but not for “women’s blue hats” or “hats for women”.

Phrase Matching has been found by us to be best used on 2 – 3 keyword phrases max!

Exact Match

Finally we have your Exact Match keywords, these are keywords added with [ ]’s around the keyword to alert Google that our ads will only show if exactly this keyword is searched… this is almost as far as you can go in terms of restricting a keywords search visibility within your campaigns.

To find the best Exact Match keywords, you should be crawling through your Search Term Report each day on routine to ensure none are missed!

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If you’ve made it down this far you should be a Keyword Match Type wizard!

That's all for now... Here is a GIF to leave you smiling

In the near future we will cover the extended area of Google Ads keyword optimisation as we look at “Negative Keywords” and how they can help us to reduce irrelevant search traffic to optimise our budget for the right traffic.

If you have any questions or would like our help, you can email or call .

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