How Do Keyword Match Types Work?

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Expert pay-per-click advertisers are only getting better and better at finding ways to make their ads go the extra mile. They’re not just choosing the exact keywords they want to include in their Google Ads campaigns, they’re utilizing those keywords to their highest potential. This is where keyword match types come in!

Without a close eye on the keywords in your campaigns, there’s a lot of opportunity for your diligently researched keywords to bring on irrelevant clicks and impressions. 

However, knowing what keyword match types are and how they work can help you to avoid this problem.

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What Are Keyword Match Types?

You came here to get the skinny on match types and we’re here to deliver! Let’s start by first understanding what keyword match types are.

Keyword match types can be thought of as the limitations or restrictions advertisers set on their chosen keywords. These parameters are put on to help control which search terms trigger certain ads to appear on a search engine results page (SERP).

Now, why would you want to put restrictions on keywords? Aren’t more eyes seeing your ad better for getting conversions?

Not quite! Expert advertisers will use different match types as a tactic to help remove unnecessary function words and search terms that may at first seem relevant, but actually include audiences who aren’t ready to convert.

Why Choose a Match Type Strategy?

There’s one thing all advertisers with Google Ads campaigns want: for their ad budget to go as far as possible and get them the best return on investment. This is where a keyword match type strategy comes in!

Think of choosing a pay-per-click (PPC) keyword match type, as a way of telling Google how you would like your ads to match the searches made by users. You might choose a match type that’s broad and tells Google you want a lot of users to see your ad. Or one that’s more exact and very specific in terms of who will see the ad.

While this might seem easy, PPC keyword match types are just a little more complex. You can actually combine different match types to improve your Google Ad campaign even more! This is why understanding the differences between the different match types is so important – more on this later!

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Keyword Match Types in Relation to ROI

How do keyword match types relate to your return on investment? Simply put, PPC keyword match types contribute to the overall success (or failure) of your campaign. They help you to create better campaigns because of the information they give you in regards to your target audience.

This information helps you to better match your campaigns to where your audience is in the buying cycle. And hitting this target properly is a key part of helping that audience to convert. Essentially helping you to get the most out of your investment in PPC.  

The Four Keyword Match Types

So, now you understand how keyword match types can be a big influencing factor on how your Google Ads campaign performs.

If you’ve spent some time in Google Ads, then it’s likely you have seen the four PPC keyword match types available to you. These different match types tell you how broad or narrow a search query is going to match your chosen keyword.

When you use similar keywords that aren’t related to your ads, it ends up being a waste of your ad budget. These aren’t keywords your target audience is going to be using. This is why avoiding these irrelevant matches is an important part of matching ads to searchers who will achieve higher conversion rates.

Now we’ll look in more detail at each of the keyword match types: broad match, modified broad match, exact match, and keyword phrase match.

Broad Match

Broad match is the default keyword match type. It’s a broad option, just as its name implies.

By staying with the broad match type, your ad will be shown for the largest amount of search queries. The truth is, while a broad match is the default keyword match type, it’s not necessarily the best choice for those who are just starting out with paid search.

A broad match will match your selected keywords with the broadest searches possible, including misspelled variations and synonyms. These terms can be irrelevant and end up wasting your valuable PPC budget – AKA not ideal!

While you certainly don’t want your ad spend to be wasted on broad terms that aren’t valuable, a broad match does have some benefits.

  1. Broad matches can save you time when it comes to researching relevant keywords. Keyword variations in different match types can help you to cover more searches.
  2. If you’re short on time, a broad match can save you from having to create in-depth keyword lists.

If you want to do it right, however, you may want to use a modified broad match.

Modified Broad Match

Modified broad match keywords will prompt Google to look for close variations of your keywords that are closest to them, instead of those that aren’t exactly relevant. This is a more cautious version of the broad match as it gives you more control, while also providing the freedom which goes along with broad match keywords.

Broad match modifiers (BMM) allow you to choose certain search terms which are guaranteed to be included in your ad. These keywords are identifiable by the plus sign shown in front of each of the search terms.

Phrase Match

The next keyword match type is phrase match. This match type is all about the order of the words.

Phrase match allows for words to be included either before or after the given keyword. Your ad will end up showing up in search queries where people search the phrase included in the keyword, in that exact order. This match type also includes misspellings, abbreviations, plural forms, etc.

For example, something like “women’s boots” would pull up phrase matches such as “buy women’s boots online” or “review women’s boots”.

These match types will end up getting fewer impressions than a modified broad match but will produce higher quality visitors.

Exact Match

The last keyword match type is an exact match. It’s the one that gives you the most control over where your ads show up.

Just like the name sounds, your exact match keyword is the only one that will show your ad on Google. Search queries must be for that keyword exactly, or a close variation of it with the same meaning.

Google decided to include variations of an exact match because it meant advertisers could cut down their close variations list in the ad groups. So, while Google no longer matches search queries with exact keywords, the addition of variations is helpful for some advertisers.

Negative keywords are also an important part of keyword match types. You can learn more about how to use negative keywords in paid search campaigns here.

Put Together a Keyword Match Types Strategy

Broad match, modified broad match, exact match, or phrase match. You know your choice of PPC keyword match type can make a big difference in the outcome of your Google Ads campaign. So now it’s time to decide which one is going to be the best fit!

Maybe the default broad match is going to be best for your needs. Or perhaps you need an exact match in order to only show your ad to customers who are on the hunt for your precise keyword. 

Choose the best keyword match type for your needs and you’ll be well on your way to taking your campaigns that much further.

If you’re looking for some guidance on where to go with your paid search campaigns, Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, FL is here to help! Check out our full range of services or contact us today to get started.


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