Ultimate Keyword Match Type Guide – How to Use Tips & Tricks

Understanding the types of matches for the keywords you choose to target when setting up an ad campaign on Google, Bing or another platform is key. There are various options and they offer distinct costs and benefits that you must take into account before you can push ahead and begin the campaign.

You might think choosing the keywords is all you need to do, but that’s not the case. That’s where the work starts, but it’s just as important to ensure you choose the keyword match types that work for this particular campaign and that help you to achieve all of the things you want to achieve going forward.

match type google ads

The main purpose of keyword match types is to refine the targeting you do when setting up adverts with Google Adwords and other similar online advertising platforms. It’s all about how your keyword choices get interpreted by the algorithm that’s being run by the platform of your choice.

By carrying out this interpretation based on the keyword match type you choose, the algorithm will be able to decide which search results your ads will appear on. This allows you to target the right people and be more specific with your targeting than would otherwise be possible. The keyword match type you choose will essentially decide how close the search keywords are to the ad presented. 

Keyword selection, as well as match type, are used for targeting people as they search in Google.

The Keyword Match Type Options

There are a few specific keyword match types that you need to understand because these are likely to be the options you’re choosing between when you set up your next ad campaign. 

Keyword match type determines how closely a search term entered into Google (or Bing, Yahoo and Twitter) must be to the keywords selected within these PPC platforms.

Selecting the most suited keyword matching options can help increase traffic quantity and quality to get the best mix of volume and profit. Broader keyword matching gets more traffic while narrower keyword matching option is more targeted. Google Adwords has four match types which include the broad default match, as well as a modified broad match phrase match and exact match types.

Google Match Type AdWords 2

Exact Match

Exact match has always meant that your ad will only be shown when there is an exact match between your chosen keywords and the search being made by the user. However, Google has changed this a little and made it a little more flexible in recent times.

Bing has kept things the same, so if you use Bing Ads, your ads will only be shown when there is an exact keyword match. With Google Adwords, there can be small variations that are allowed, and this will be mentioned more in the section about Google and Bing below.

Broad Match

Broad match types are generally used as default options when you set up an online advertising campaign. The algorithms being run by the platform you use will treat the keywords you choose as general guides to what’s acceptable. It means the search pages on which your ads are shown will be more varied.

If you want to ensure your ad campaign reaches further and is seen by more people, broad matches definitely make sense. However, there are problems with this approach as well because it means that you have to accept that not all matches will be relevant.

Modified Broad Match Type

 Reach more people than phrase match and gives you more targeting control than broad match.

To use the modifier, just put a plus symbol (+) directly in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. Each word preceded by a + has to appear in your potential customer’s search term. Close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemming (like “floor” and “flooring”). 

Modified broad match works in both Adwords & Bing Ads.

Phrase Match

Phrase matches allow your ads to be shown on search result pages where your phrase is contained within a larger search made by the user. There might be words before or after the phrase, but the phrase you choose will certainly be in there.

To make your keywords phrase matches, you should ensure you use quotation marks around them. That way, the exact phrase will be matched and there won’t be ads showing up on searches in which there are words in the middle of your chosen phrase.

Match Type Manual Entered GOogle ADs

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be really useful when you’re looking to ensure your ads don’t appear in the wrong place. For example, you can make sure that your ads don’t show up for searches that are similar to your keywords and products but not as relevant as you’d like them to be. 

It’s another way to make your keyword choices more precise and another way of ensuring the right people see your adverts. You never want to be paying for ads to be placed in front of people you know aren’t going to be interested in what you’re advertising. So, it might be a good idea for you to rule out some words and phrases this way. To learn more check out our Advanced Negative Keyword Guide.

negative keyword match type

How to use Keyword Match Type.

  • The “Match type” and added column is used to see how closely the search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to the keywords in your account. This information gives an idea of which match types to use for your keywords.
  • Add new search terms with high potential as keywords.
  • Add new search terms that are irrelevant as negative keywords.

Once broader matches have gathered impressions and clicks, the search terms report can be used to monitor which keyword variations triggered your ads and results in conversions.

Choosing the Keyword Match Types for Your Campaign

Each campaign is different, so your own situation and the kind of campaign you want to run is always the main thing that should dictate which keyword match type you choose. You can even use various keyword match types within the same campaign because Google Adwords allows for this. 

Spend time considering the options with your team and decide which keyword match types are most likely to align with the aims and ambitions for your online advertising campaign most cleanly and easily. Phrase matches and exact matches are the best options if you’re looking to be specific and target a particular niche.

google ads keyword match type AW E

Keyword Match Type Tips

  • Don’t use the default match type called Broad Match. (Unless you are advanced in Adwords). Certainly, do not start with broad match type.
  • Only use modified broad match and exact match type to get the best targeting mix of reach & relevance.
  • Start with an 80/20 approach to starting with keyword match type with 80% split MBM and 20% exact match type.
  • Don’t use exact match on keywords with more than three words, or on keywords with low to medium search volume.
  • Use exact match type on high volume keywords-especially when only one or two words.
  • High volume search terms can have exact match type and modified broad match.
  •  Low to medium volume search terms can be MBM only.
  • Adding modified broad match keywords can help you get more clicks and conversions at an ROI comparable to that of your phrase match keywords.
  • Compared to using the only phrase and exact match keywords, using modified broad match can greatly reduce the number of keywords you need because each keyword can match countless word order and spelling variations. This along with no longer having exact match campaign settings has made phrase match, for the most part, unnecessary.

Google Adwords and Bing Ads

If you’re about to start an online ad campaign, the two main platforms that you’re considering are probably going to be Google Adwords and Bing Ads. Both use keyword match types in the same way, but which one is right for you and your advertising campaign? Google has the biggest audience but there are some things to know about Bing too. 

You have a little more flexibility with Google if you choose an exact match keyword match type, and Bing is more rigid. So, if you’re looking for something strict and precise, Bing is the better option. If you’d prefer a looser set of rules for matches, you would probably be better using Google.

In Conclusion

This is one of the most important parts of the decision making process when you’re creating advertising campaigns, so it really does make sense to spend time thinking about it. You want to be sure when and how your adverts will be seen on Google, Bing or whatever advertising platform you’re choosing to use. 

You can run tests if you’re not sure which keyword match type is the right one for your business and your advertising campaign. This might make your decision making process a little easier. But, hopefully, the information here will also help you make an informed decision regarding which way forward is the best for your ad strategy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Click to Zoom in!

Free Google Ads Report

Easy to copy and connect to your own account in minutes! Updates automatically each day! 

We take your privacy seriously. Review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.