Broad, “Phrase” or [Exact]? Keyword Match Types in Pay Per Click Advertising

Last modified:
Cher Window

PPC Specialist

As a Pay Per Click (PPC) advertiser using Google AdWords, you can select whether your adverts show for broad searches relating to your keywords or very specific searches that match your terms exactly. By choosing from a range of ‘keyword match types,’ you can tactically enhance your campaigns and improve the quality of the traffic that you attract to your website.

In AdWords, there are five different keyword match types to choose from:

Broad Match

Broad match – as you might ascertain from the name – returns a broad range of results originating from your keyword or phrase. Your adverts will automatically run for keyword variations including synonyms, singular and plural forms, common misspellings and even other phrases that contain the selected keywords. Although assigning broad match to a campaign can help to increase traffic, it may also result in wasted spend, attracting clicks from people looking for products or services your business does not supply.

“Phrase Match”

By placing quotation marks around particular keywords, Google will only display adverts when the search term entered contains the keywords in the same order as they are listed in the ad. For example, when bidding on a keyword which is written in quotation marks – e.g. “car insurance” – you will show for those keywords in that order. However, you will also bid on search terms such as ‘cheap car insurance’, ‘car insurance quotes’, ‘car insurance policies’, etc.

[Exact Match]

Exact match is the most specific keyword match type. By placing your keyword or phrase in square brackets – e.g. [car insurance] – Google will only show the advert for that exact term, without including any variations.

-Negative -Match

Negative matches are an excellent method of reducing the amount of wasted spend your ad campaign generates. The addition of a negative sign shows Google that your ad is not to be returned for any search including that keyword. Using the car insurance example, by adding the negative keyword ‘-sports’, your advert will not be returned for “sports car insurance” searches.

+Modified +Broad +Match

The most recent addition to AdWords, modified broad match allows you to apply a more specific version of broad match. By putting a plus sign in front of a keyword or key phrase, you can tell Google exactly which keywords you would like to bid for, ensuring you show for a range of terms without appearing for those which aren’t related to the products or services you sell.

Done well, pay per click advertising can really help to drive more traffic to a website at a minimal expense. However, unfortunately, we’ve seen many people give it a go themselves, only to set up their campaigns with the wrong keyword match types in place. Our PPC Team have years of experience in setting up and managing campaigns in a plethora of industries and therefore know the do’s and don’ts with Google AdWords.

For more information, please visit our dedicated pay per click advertising page or call 029 2076 6467 today.

Share this on:


Cher Window

PPC Specialist

Cher has worked for both in-house and agency teams, and has experience in education, social enterprise, beauty, law and conservation. As a part of her current role she enjoys analysing data to predict for the future, increasing campaign relevancy through testing, having the responsibility to organise each step of paid plans, running content on different…

See more written by this author: Cher Window

We’ll be your
proactive partner