Google Ads – Keyword Match Types

Keyword Match Types - Google Ads - Katalydd Digital Marketing

Keyword match types are parameters that can be set on your keywords to control which searches trigger your ads to appear. There are 4 different keyword match types in AdWords: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match, and Exact Match.

Each match type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s incredibly important to understand the circumstances in which you should use one and not the other.

Broad Match

Broad Match, as its name suggests, is the keyword match type that allows you to reach the widest audience. When your keyword in is Broad Match, your ads are eligible to appear whenever a user searches any word in your key phrase, in any order. It also allows misspellings and synonyms to trigger your ads to appear. 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 increase the number of clicks you see on your ads, the problem is that a lot of those clicks may be coming from irrelevant traffic.  (In fact, broad match keywords is one of five default settings in your AdWords account that could be lowering your ROI.) If you decide to stick with default broad match keywords, it’s important to check the Search Terms Report to ensure you’re not spending money on keyword traffic that is irrelevant and not converting.

Modified Broad Match

Broad Match Modified keywords work by appending a ‘+’ to the specific word in your keyword phrase that you want to lock in place. When you lock a word in place, 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 Match 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”.

Modified Broad Match - Katalydd SEM

Phrase Match

As with most things in AdWords, 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”. We like using Phrase Match on two-word keyword phrases

Exact Match

Exact Match used to be the most restrictive match type option in AdWords, and the match type option we found ourselves using the least.

It used to be the case where Exact Match keywords only triggered ads when the exact keyword phrase you targeted was searched.

Negative Match

Choosing what NOT to target can be just as important as choosing what to target. Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for search queries that have nothing to do with your brand.

If you’re selling bacon, you don’t want to show up for queries looking for the Bacon Bros.

Now there are three types of negative keywords:

Negative Broad Match is the default setting that stops your ad from showing if all the negative keywords are searched, regardless of order. For example, the negative keywords “dog hat” will prevent your ad from showing up when “cute hats for dogs” is searched.

Negative Phrase Match stops your ads from showing if the search includes your exact keywords. Order matters! If your negative phrase match keyword is “dog hat,” your ad will not show up for the search query “cute dog hat” but will show for “hat dog.”

Negative Exact Match prevents your ads from showing if the search query is exactly your negative keyword. This means, your ads will show if extra words or phrases are added. The negative exact match keyword “dog hat” will prevent your ads to show only when someone searches exactly “dog hat.”