The 5 Types of Keyword Matches on Google Ads
Google Ads (formerly called AdWords) can be a valuable tool for directing people’s attention to your practice and at the most opportune time—when they’re searching for the services you offer. To make your Google Ads campaigns as effective as possible, you must first understand the different match types you can assign to your keywords. Simply put, a match type assigns parameters for each keyword to control how relevant an Internet user’s search query must be for Google to show your ad in the results.
For every keyword added to your Google Ads account, it is possible to choose one of five different match types: exact, phrase, broad, broad match modifier, or negative. Depending on the type you select, your ad will pop up in Google results when a person searches for a query that is either specifically or more broadly related to your keyword.
If you choose a highly targeted match type, such as an exact match, the people seeing your ads are searching for exactly what you are advertising, and therefore, your ad will be more relevant. On the other hand, if you choose a more general match, such as a broad match, more people will see your ad, but a smaller portion of this audience will find your ad relevant.
Here’s a look at how setting different keyword match types may cause your ad to be triggered:
In other words, the more targeted your keyword match is, the fewer searches that will apply (and smaller the audience). Conversely, the less targeted your match type is, the more searches that will apply (and greater your reach). Learn more about each of the Google Ad keyword match options in the numbered sections below.
1. Exact Match
An exact match is the most specific of all types. When this is applied, your ad will only show if the person is searching for your exact keyword, or a close variation of it, such as misspellings, singular and plural forms, stemmings, acronyms, and abbreviations. If the exact words are used in the search query but in the wrong order (or if the search includes extra words), the ad will not be triggered.
Examples for [plastic surgeon]: plastic surgeon, plastic surgeons
2. Phrase Match
A phrase match is more flexible than an exact match, but still highly targeted. When this type is applied to an ad, a person can search for a phrase that includes your keyword, or a close variation. Additional words in the query can be placed before or after your keyword, but not in between.
Examples for “plastic surgeon”: plastic surgeon in san diego, local plastic surgeons
3. Broad Match
A broad match offers the most reach with the least relevancy. Your keyword will match search terms that are either a variation of it or deemed relevant by Google Ads. This means your entire keyword does not even need to be within the search query. As a result, broad match can sometimes waste a Google Ads budget, which is why it should be used sparingly and with negative keywords. Broad match is the default setting for your keyword if you do not choose otherwise.
Examples for plastic surgery: cosmetic surgeon, rhinoplasty
4. Broad Match Modifier
A broad match modifier is similar to broad match but more refined. This type involves putting a plus sign (+) before each term in your keyword that you want to be within a person’s search query. As a result, the ad will only be shown if the +[keyword] is included within the search.
Examples for +plastic +surgeon: plastic and reconstructive surgeon, top surgeons in plastic surgery
5. Negative Match
A negative match is used to prevent your ad from displaying for irrelevant search queries that may seem similar. By putting a minus sign (-) before the terms you want to prevent from triggering your ad, you can hone in on specific searchers, contributing to your return on investment.
Example terms for plastic surgery practices: -cheap, -cheapest, -advertising, -hiring -salary
Choosing the Right Match Types for Your Keywords
This will depend upon different factors, such as your Google Ads budget and goal of your campaign. As you move forward with a specific match type for your keyword, make sure you are tracking your Google Ads campaign to ensure you are adapting your strategy to reach your objectives.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with Google Ads, or you want to make your existing campaigns more effective, our team at Rosemont Media can help. Our specialists have years of AdWords/Google Ads experience and an established track record for creating Google advertising campaigns that help practices gain greater online visibility and achieve increases in relevant traffic. In fact, Rosemont Media is a Google Premier Partner, which indicates our team’s advanced level of expertise in Google Ads. With this Premier status—which only 3% of Google Partners have achieved—you can rest assured our specialists have been trained, certified, and deemed trustworthy by Google.
Ready to make the most of Google Ads? Contact Rosemont Media today to speak with one of our experienced professionals about how to maximize your ROI.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on September 27, 2016.