Google Ads Keyword Match Types Explained

There is a lot you need to know about Google Ads Keyword Match types when you get started as an advertiser. We cover the 4 different match types for keywords in your search campaigns. They all can be used differently depending on your goals. When you create your first campaign, you want to avoid some common keyword targeting mistakes.

You can start by watching our video below or directly on YouTube, and then scrolling for more information below. If you have any questions about keywords and the different match types in Google AdWords, feel free to leave a comment.

Keyword Match Types

 


Google Ads Keyword Match Types

You can first start by viewing our image below to learn more about broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords. Hopefully, that visual will be helpful for understanding how all of the keyword match types work for your targeting.
 

keyword match types google ads
Click on Image to Expand

Broad Match Keywords

Google Ads keywords using the broad match type feature no modifier and will match related terms and synonyms. They will expand your campaigns and can be useful for large budget advertisers. Personally, I prefer to use broad match with the plus-sign modifier because it helps with organization.

Broad Match Example: You would type the keyword into your Ad Group without any brackets, quotes, or plus-signs. You would type in a broad match keyword like this: sample keyword here.

Broad Match Keywords


Broad Match Modifier Keywords

Google Ads keywords using the modified broad match type feature the plus-sign modifier. They will match search queries that include any targeted keyword with the plus-sign in front of the keyword. They are a great option for all advertisers because they can match a lot of different search terms and you can keep your campaigns and ad groups organized.

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Modified Broad Match Example: You would type the keyword into your Ad Group with a plus-sign (+) in front of every word that must appear in the search query. You would type in a modified broad match keyword like this: +sample +keyword +here or +sample +keyword here.

Modified Broad Match Keywords


Phrase Match Keywords

Google Ads keywords using the phrase match type feature quotes as a modifier. They will match search queries that include the phrase that you are targeting with your keyword. Some advertisers choose to use phrase match because you can make sure you are targeting some of the most popular search terms that customers type in.

Phrase Match 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

Google Ads keywords using the exact match type feature brackets as a modifier. They will match exact search queries. In order to keep your ads as targeted as possible, you can use exact match, but it can limit your targeting.

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

Exact Match Keywords


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.

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Keyword Close Variants in Google Ads

Close variants will expand all of your keyword match types (exact, phrase, and broad match modifier 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 [dry dog food], it will also match for search queries like ‘dri dog food’ or ‘dry dog foods’ 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.

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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.

Keyword Tip: Group keywords by theme and try to keep Ad Groups around 5 keywords or less.

In Summary

Keyword targeting is something you need to know for Google Ads and Bing Ads 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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