Find Your >keyword< Match

Everyone has a type. So why spend your money casting a wide net out there for anyone, when you can go straight the ones you know you’ll match with? We aren’t talking about making human love connections here; we mean Keyword Match Types. So, grab some wine, light some candles and get ready for an intimate PPC experience.

Best Google Ads PPC Keyword Match Types

If you engage in any Google Ads activities, we hope you have at least heard of match types. Unless you have an infinite marketing budget to direct towards your PPC campaigns, getting to know the different types of keyword matches is critical. They help control where your ads can trigger in Google and ultimately, where your spend is going.

There are four variations of keyword matching options available to choose from:

  • Broad Match (Default)

    Your ads can appear on searches with misspellings, synonyms, “related” searches & relevant variations. Essentially, any searches Google deems somewhat relevant, you’re probably going to show on.
    For example: Say we were targeting the term ‘broad match’, your ad could potentially show on searches for ‘large matches’, ‘big match’, etc.

  • +Broad +Match Modifier

    Your ads only show on searches which include the words (or close variations) you have designated with a plus sign. They may be in any order, and additional words may appear before/after/between the terms.
    For example: Say we were targeting the term ‘+broad +match +modifier’, your ad could only show for searches which contain all three words such as ‘broad match modifier tool’, ‘modified broad match examples’, etc.

  • “Phrase Match”

    Your ads may show on searches that match a phrase designated with quotation marks or are a close variation of that phrase with additional words before/after.
    For example: Say we were targeting the term “phrase match”, your ad could potentially show on searches for ‘what does phrase match mean’, ‘difference between broad match and phrase match’, etc.

  • [Exact Match]

    Your ads will only show on searches that match the exact term or are a close variation with the same meaning.
    For example: Say we were targeting the term [exact match], your ad could potentially show on searches for ‘exact match’, ‘exact matches’, etc.

  • BONUS: Negative Keywords

    As an added bonus, negative keywords are essentially the opposite of the rest of the keyword match types. These exclude your ads from appearing on searches with that term. There is no specific symbol to characterise these; rather, you create a list of the search terms you do not want your ads to appear on within your campaigns or at an account level. These are great if you find you’re receiving repeat clicks on terms that just aren’t relevant.

So, you might be wondering, which one of these eligible keyword types is the right one for you? Time for a compatibility test.

Let’s start by saying immediately; Swipe left on Broad Match Keywords. We want you to forget they exist entirely.

Though you may be anxious that using more targeted match types would cause you to miss out on potential traffic; broad match keywords are the most significant budget wasters on Google Ads. They’re essentially the gold diggers of the PPC world; they’ll happily take your money but aren’t necessarily interested in pursuing anything serious with you. They sound enticing, the idea of being able advertising on anything potentially related to a term, but don’t fall for their tricks. Broad match doesn’t ensure any level of real customer intention, so – much of your spend will go to generic/loosely related searches which may occasionally result in a conversion, but not consistently.

The Benefit of Not Using Broad Match Keywords For PPC Campaigns


Instead, it’s time for you to embrace the other match types and everything they have to offer. Carefully select your keywords to ensure some engagement and/or purchase intention, using the match types to exclude all other traffic. Depending on your budget size, some match types are going to be more suitable for you.

The smaller your budget, the better it is to go for the more precise match types. If your key phrase selection is done well, you should see higher click-through rates, and theoretically, better quality traffic. Selecting phrases which lend themselves to warmer leads (For Example: ‘Where to buy…’ or ‘Buy … Online’) can assist further in cutting out the audience who still aren’t ready to make a serious engagement. Virtually, you would be capturing those further down the purchase decision funnel and more likely to be willing and ready to convert (i.e. they are more into you).

The Purchase Decision Funnel

Now, how exactly do you find these incredibly specific terms? Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find some hyper-relevant search terms with decent search volume. You can start your search with keyword ideas, or even your website URL and Google will generate an extensive list of suggestions for you. When selecting your terms from this list, keep in mind that it is usually harder and more expensive to advertise on short/one-word key terms. If you are particularly conscious of spending, keep your eyes peeled for those golden long-tail key terms.

Additionally, once your ads are running, keep checking your Search Terms tab to find new relevant keywords that you aren’t already explicitly targeting. After that, if you aren’t spending your full budget, and Google doesn’t tell you that your bids are too low, you might consider changing to a less precise matching type so your ads can show to a broader audience.

Follow our steps, and we guarantee you’ll find your keyword match made in heaven.

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