Understanding Keyword Match Types in AdWords

With its focus on pay-per-click (PPC) search ads, Google AdWords remains one of the most popular online advertising channels for business owners. One of the reasons for its popularity lies in its targeting feature. Rather than displaying your ads for everyone to see, you can specify your audience using keywords. However, AdWords offers several different keyword match types, each of which targets a different audience.

Broad Match

By default, target keywords in AdWords use the broad match type. As the name suggests, broad match keywords expose your ads to a larger audience. They include keyword variations like misspellings, synonyms and related searches.

Broad Match Modifier

As explained by WordStream, broad match modifier falls somewhere between broad match and phrase match types. It covers the same misspellings, synonyms and related searches as broad match, but it only triggers ad impressions when these search variations are performed with the (+) parameter.

Phrase Match

An even more precise targeting option is phrase match keywords. Phrase match keywords trigger ads for searches containing close variations of the phrase. Ads for phrase match keywords only show, however, when words are adding to the front or end of the phrase. They will not show when words are added to the middle of the phrase.

Exact Match

Exact match type only triggers ads for searches containing the exact keyword phrase or close variations. So, how does this differ from phrase match? With exact match, even fewer users will see your ads. This means your ads will generate fewer impressions using exact match than phrase match. On the other hand, however, it typically yields higher quality traffic; thus, helping to bolster your AdWords conversion rate and return on investment (ROI).

Negative Match

Finally, negative match keywords have a completely different function: they prevent your ads from showing when a search query contains one or more of your specified negative keywords. If your website sells dresses but not necessarily wedding dresses, for instance, you can use “wedding” as a negative match keyword to prevent your ads from showing for searches like “wedding dress” or “buy wedding dress.”

These are the five keyword match types currently supported by AdWords. It’s important to note, however, that match types only affect Search Network ads, not Display Network ads


About Brandon Ferguson 317 Articles
Brandon has been browsing and sampling what the web has to offer. He sifts and sorts the good from the bad. Drop him a line if you want to ask anything at all! Always happy to help.

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