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PPC Basics: Keyword Match Types

This week we’ll cover keyword match types, a commonly misunderstood part of the average pay-per-click (PPC) advertising account. If you’re a beginner in PPC advertising, match types may not be something you were told about before setting up your account. I constantly review accounts with only broad match keywords, so I know this can be a problem for a lot of do-it-yourself-ers out there.

To kick things off, there are several matching options:

– Broad Match (and Modified Broad Match)

– Phrase Match

– Exact Match

– Negative Match

Broad Match

Broad match keywords don’t have any symbols surrounding the words. This is the most basic keyword matching option and the default option if you were to just type your keyword list into Google Adwords or other PPC platforms. Broad match allows for your ads to be triggered when any of the words in your keyword phrase are included in a search query. Here’s an example of how it works –

Broad match keyword: Ads may show on searches for:
running shoes running
shoes
buy running shoes
running shoe reviews
running shoes
running sneakers

As you can see, it’d be easy to appear for searches that aren’t necessarily the types of clicks you want. I would only suggest using broad match keywords if you have a large negative keyword list to knock out irrelevant searches. More on negative match types in a bit.

Modified broad match can be used by adding a + symbol in front of each word in your keyword phrase (ex. +running +shoes). Here’s Google’s explanation of broad match modifer

“Each word preceded by a + must appear in the user’s search exactly or as a close variant. Depending on the language, close variants will include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like “floor” and “flooring”). Synonyms (like “quick” and “fast”) and related searches (like “flowers” and “tulips”) are not considered close variants. The broad match modifier gives you more reach than phrase match because the broad match modifier allows for additional word(s) to be before, between, or after the keyword that’s been modified with the (+) sign.”

Phrase Match

Phrase match requires search queries to include your entire keyword phrase in order to trigger an ad to show.

Phrase match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
“running shoes” red running shoes
buy running shoes
running shoes reviews
shoes for running
running shoe
running sneakers

When you use phrase match, you’re going to want to use 2-3 word phrases. The longer your phrases, the less likely it will be that people will include that phrase in their search.

Exact Match

The most restricted of the keyword match types is exact match. This does just want it sounds like it would do. Unless someone types in your exact keyword phrase, your ad will not be shown.

Exact match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
[running shoes] running shoes red running shoes
running shoe
buy running shoes

If you can find the right exact match keywords at a reasonable bid price, these are ideal keywords to capitalize on someone’s exact search query. Click-through-rates for exact match keywords are typically high since you hit on exactly the phrase someone searched for.

Negative Match

Finally, there is negative match. You can use negative match keywords to disqualify your ads from showing for undesirable search queries. Broad match, in particular, opens your account up to show ads for a huge range of search queries, so it’s best to use a lot of negative keywords to eliminate the chance that your ad will appear for strange or irrelevant searches.

Keywords: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
running shoes
-used
running shoes
buy running shoes
running
used running shoes
shoe used for running

Over time, you’ll learn which match types work best for your business and industry. I would suggest starting with phrase and exact match keyword phrases only. Branch out to modified broad match after you have a better understanding of how your account will perform. Don’t forget to add negative keywords!

It can take some time and energy to test which keywords work best for your business and industry. If you’d like help managing your PPC account, contact us today at 800-267-1704. We’ll review your existing account if you have one or we can help you get started if you’ve never used PPC advertising before. We’d love to hear from you. Let us know how we can help.