Keyword Match-Types

Search engines give you several options when it comes to bidding on your chosen keywords for your target market. You’ve heard about broad, phrase, exact and negative matches right? Well, for those that haven’t heard, this article will briefly describe all of them and suggest you the best strategy to choose when first starting your PPC campaign. Without further ado let’s get to the point.

Broad Match

Broad match means your keyword will show up when people type that word or keyphrase along with any other words. For example:

Job – Your keyword targets people who are looking for jobs. However, your ad will appear whenever people search for the following phrases:

  • Work at home job
  • Home job online
  • Blow job
  • Hand job
  • You get the idea…

Now in order to prevent that you may add all those keywords as negative. But that will take some time weeding out negative keywords. It’s just easier to target more specifically. Such as:

  • Home job
  • Find a job
  • Job engine
  • Work at home job

So if you target a keyword like home job, you ad will appear whenever folks search for:

  • Home job online
  • Job at home

Much better. But it will show your ad whenever people search for home job in any particular order and with any other keywords there are. It’s the broadest targeting possible, so not suggested in the beginning. Sometimes it will show your ad for related keywords. Let’s say you bid on BBQ grills and it shows your ad for George Forman. Use broad match when you want to scale already successful campaign. Use broad match when you want to discover what keywords people type in search engines, when no other tool will show you that info. But don’t use it in the beginning as it will swallow your budget for a lot of unrelated keywords most likely.

Phrase Match

Phrase match option is much better. Your ad appears whenever people search for a phrase in the exact order, but with additional words in front or end of your keyword. For example:

“Digital camcorder” – is the phrase matched keyword you’re bidding on.

Your ad will appear whenever people search for:

  • “Sony digital camcorder”
  • “digital camcorder online”
  • “cheap digital camcorder”

Your phrase is intact, but additional words are added in front or back of the keyphrase. This lets you control keywords better and not too many negative keywords needed in this case.

Exact Match

The most precise targeting. It means that your ad shows up only when your exact phrase is typed in, without any additional words and in the exact order you’re bidding on. Example:

  • [pool cleaning service]

Your keyword will show up only when people type in that exact phrase. It will not show up when they search for:

  • [pool cleaning]
  • [pool cleaning services]

Exact match gives you complete control. It doesn’t require negative matches. It largely limits the number of searches your ad is exposed to. So keep that in mind. However, it delivers laser-targeted visitors. It is considered to be the best when starting the new campaign.

Negative Match

Does not show your ad for specific words people use in your bided phrase. For example:

  • Buy dog
  • Cheap dogs
  • Buy a dog in Nashville

Those are the broad match keywords in your adgroup. It will generate a lot of targeted visitors to your website. But it will also generate a bunch of untargeted searchers:

  • cheap hot dogs
  • buy a hot dog
  • and so on…

Adding a negative match like this:

  • -hot

This will prevent any appearance of your ad when users type “hot” in the phrase. Now you’re safe to get traffic for your dog selling/buying website instead of junk food eaters.

Broad Match Modifier

Google introduced recently a new type of matching – broad match modifier. It works as the name suggests for broad match only. What it does it lets you get traffic only from searches that contain a specific word you add to your phrase. You do that by assigning a + sign in front of the keyword (without spaces). Example:

  • Digital +camera

Your ad will show up only when people search for:

  • Digital video camera
  • Sony digital camera
  • Cheap Digital DVR camera
  • Wireless digital camera shop
  • And so on…

It won’t show up for searches like these, which would show up for broad match only:

  • Digital Video cam
  • Digital Spy cam
  • Pinhole camera
  • Xxx camera videos

How to Use All This?

Your first campaigns should start with exact match or phrase match. Exact match won’t produce any surprises, although will limit your exposure a bit. If you’re on tight budget, you don’t want all traffic you can get, you only need converting traffic. So use exact match at start for some longer (3 words+) key phrases. Only when you reach ROI, move on to phrase match and broad match with negative keywords and possibly modified matching options on Google.

Play around to find the best working option for you. Sometimes exact match will be too expensive and won’t produce clicks; that’s when you need to use phrase match.

All these match types are important of you’re doing search PPC. If you use content network from any of the giants, then this means nothing except negative match. Whether you use broad, phrase or exact, for content network it won’t matter. They websites to show your ad based on keyword themes in your adgroups.