Google Ads Keyword Match Types Explained 2023

There is a lot you need to know about Google Ads Keyword Match types when you get started as an advertiser. There are 3 different match types available when you target keywords in your search campaigns – broad match, phrase match, and exact match. They all can be used differently depending on your goals and we will cover them extensively in this article.

You can start by watching our video below or directly on YouTube.

Google Ads Keyword Match Types Video


Google Ads Keyword Match Types

  • Broad Match Keywords
  • Phrase Match Keywords
  • Exact Match Keywords


Important Update: Modified broad match keywords are no longer available in Google Ads.

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords feature no modifier (no quotes or brackets around the keyword) when you target them. Broad match keywords match any search terms that are related to your targeted keyword. They will expand your campaigns and can be useful for large-budget advertisers.

My Opinion on Broad Match: Advertisers with large budgets or advertisers who are willing to test extensively should use the broad keyword match type. You need a strong negative keyword strategy and you want to utilize smart bidding.

Broad Match Example

You would type the keyword into your Ad Group without any quotes or brackets. You would type in a broad match keyword like this: sample keyword here.

Broad Match Keywords

Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords have quotes around the entire keyword when you target them. Phrase match keywords match any search terms that include the same meaning as your keyword. They will only match your ads to relevant search terms that are closely related to your keyword.

My Opinion on Phrase Match: They are my favorite match type for most advertisers because they provide plenty of search volume without losing relevancy.

Phrase Match Keyword Example

You would type the keyword into your Ad Group with quotes around a phrase that must appear in a search query. You would type in a modified broad match keyword like this: “sample keyword here“.

Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords have brackets around the entire keyword when you target them. Exact match keywords will match exact search queries and searches with the same meaning.

My Opinion on Exact Match: They will give you the most relevancy and the best targeting for your ads and landing pages. However, you will have less overall search volume.

Exact Match Example: You would type in your keyword and surround it with quotes in your Ad Group. You would type in an exact match keyword like this: [sample keyword here].

Exact Match Keywords

How to Target Keywords in Google Ads

First, sign-in to your Google Ads account. Then, create a new Search campaign or create a new Ad Group in an existing campaign.

create new ad group google ads

Second, choose the keywords you want to target. In the example below, I show you how to enter broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords. However, you should only use 1 keyword match type per Ad Group and you should not target the same keyword with different match types.

targeting keyword match types google ads

Third, click the ‘Save And Continue’ button to target the keywords.

Keyword Match Types Example

Below, you can see which searches would match different keyword match types. I pulled these search terms from an actual Google Ads campaign so you can see the difference between broad, phrase, and exact keywords.

keyword match types and search terms google ads
Click on Image to Expand

Google Ads Keyword Targeting Best Practices

When you are learning how to target keywords in Google Ads, you also need to understand close variants, negative keywords, and display keywords.

Keyword Close Variants in Google Ads

Close variants will expand all of your keyword match types (exact, phrase, and broad match keywords) to include very similar searches. For example, misspellings, singular keywords, plural keywords, stemmings, abbreviations and accents can all be included with close variants. It’s important to understand how keyword variations impact your campaigns.

Close Variant Keyword Example: If I’m targeting the exact match keyword [farmhouse curtains], it will also match for search queries like ‘farm curtains’ or ‘farmhous curtain’ because they have the same intent.

keyword close variants google ads

Negative Keywords in Google Ads

Negative keywords are used to exclude your advertisements for unrelated or low-converting search queries. You can learn more from our article covering Google Ads Negative Keywords. We also have a video embedded below so you can understand how they work. The negative keyword match types include negative broad match keywords, negative phrase match keywords, and negative exact match keywords.

Display Keywords and Video Keywords

Display Keywords & Video Keywords on the Google Display Network are all used as the broad match type. You can utilize them to target content related to your products or services. For example, if you enter the keyword: dry dog food as a display network keyword, it will match websites and pages related to dogs.

Keep in mind, it is not a perfect targeting option and your ads will go on websites that are not always exactly related to your display keywords.

How to Use Keyword Match Types

If you want to reach a wider audience of people, then you would use broad match keywords. If you only want to reach people as they type in specific search queries, then you would use exact match keywords. Personally, I like to use a mix of modified broad match keywords and exact match keywords. The keyword match type I use the most is broad match with modifiers.

What are Single Keyword Ad Groups?

An Ad Group with 1 keyword is called a Single Keyword Ad Group or shortened as SKAG. An advertiser using only 1 keyword in each Ad Group would have 100 Ad Groups for a Google Ads campaign with 100 Keywords.

Should You Use Single Keyword Ad Groups?

There’s no downside to creating organized campaigns with relevant ads and relevant landing pages for each search term. Ultimately, you should group keywords by theme so you can reach people as they look for specific products or services. You want to focus mainly on sending people to the best possible landing pages and services the most targeted ad for your keywords.

In Summary

Keyword targeting is something you need to know for Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising search campaigns. How different keywords can be utilized is an important factor for overall campaign performance. If you have any additional questions, please leave and comment and we will answer them.

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