Skip to content

Keyword Match Types

Proud to be an industry leader in

Why is this important?

Keyword match types help control and create rules around your keywords which Google then use to decide whether to show your advert or not.

There are 4 match types available to use, I will demonstrate use of each below. I am going to use a window cleaning company looking to source website leads via Google PPC as an example.

Broad match – no symbols around your keywords Window Cleaning

Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned when first building a campaign. This is where words are added without any symbols around them. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations. So if your keyword is Window Cleaning, someone searching for cloths for cleaning my windows might see your ad.

Broad match is the match type with least control around it, the rule is if someone carries out a search and it contains the word window OR cleaning OR both words in any order, you want your ads to show. So with Broad Match you could potentially show for anything related to windows (new windows, replacements windows etc) and then anything related to cleaning (carpet cleaning, dry cleaning etc).

Broad match modifier – the + symbol at the start of each word +Window +Cleaning

Similar to broad match, except that the broad match modifier option only shows ads in searches including the words designated with a plus sign (+window +cleaning) or close variations of them. So, to use broad match modifier, you would add + symbols at the start of each word. This means when a search is carried and the search contains the words you have the +’s in front of, Google may show your ad. So if we had +Window +Cleaning as our keyword, we wouldn’t show ads for dry cleaning or carpet cleaningas the search must contain both window AND cleaning for an ad to show.

Phrase match – the speech mark symbols “Window Cleaning”

Ads may show for searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way. Designated with quotation marks “Window Cleaning”. To use phrase match, you must add speech marks around the whole word.

So, your advert may show if someone searched Window Cleaning Near Me but your ad may not show if someone searched Cleaning the Windows On My House

Exact match – the square brackets[Window Cleaning]

Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search).

I would recommend all keywords even the ones using a tighter match type (Exact Match) require a negative list.

There are several reasons for this.

1 – You save money. It’s easy to assume that exact match (and the tighter match types) will take care of spending your money on the right traffic, but match types are becoming even more flexible. If you can build a negative keyword list, you prevent expensive mistakes for paying for traffic that is irrelevant.

2 – You’re demonstrating to Google that you know the traffic you want to pay for and the traffic you want to give a good quality search experience to. Being able to rank high on Google is not all about who has the deepest pockets (of course you need to be able to afford what your traffic costs you) but Google are now choosing to rank advertisers based on quality of advertisement as well as budget. So if you can show Google, by having a really strong negative keyword list, that you know the traffic you want to talk to and you’re tailoring your advertisements to speak to these specific people, you stand a better chance of being picked to rank higher up the search engine.

3 – You can use lots of sources to build a negative keyword list, making it even easier. You can use your search term report, you can use the keyword planner and you can use answer the public and other keyword recommendation tools.

You also have to consider the opportunity to serve traffic and how quickly your budget is used up. Using more flexible match types (Broad and Broad Modifier) will use up budget quicker and can show your ads in more varied searches and then your more tighter match types (Phrase and Exact) will use budget is a more specific environment.

There is no right or wrong way to use match types, it’s about understanding what is right for your budget and the specifics of the searches you want to show ads for.

How about looking at some different content?

Select a category:

Book Your FREE Strategy Call Today!

Need some advice? No problem get your FREE 20 minute strategy call today

Our Related Posts

Knowledge Centre

5 Important Housekeeping Tasks for Google Ads

5 Important Housekeeping Tips for Google Ads 2024 – Miss out understanding these and miss out on £££’s


Knowledge Centre

Can you get drunk on tonic?

PPC icon

Join the

PPC Mentorship Programme

Fill out the form to get started