Explained: Keyword Match Types

Keyword match types can seem a little daunting at first, however, when you understand a strategy to apply them to your keyword groupings based on how a platform such as Google Ads interprets them, they are actually extremely powerful.

As Google put it;

"Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad. So you could use broad match to show your ad to a wide audience or you could use exact match to hone in on specific groups of customers."

At SpeedPPC we don't agree with the second sentence, we believe that match types are not about targeting a specific group but more so matching your product with a user's intent.

Yes, it is true that you can use broad match keywords to reach a wider audience if you are happy to see advertising costs spike and your cost per conversion skyrocket. There is a time and a place for broad match keywords however it is not when you are kickstarting a campaign.

Here is Google's explanation of each match type:

"Broad-match - Broad-match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. So if your keyword is 'women’s hats', someone searching for 'buy ladies hats' might see your ad."

"Broad match modifier - Similar to broad-match, except that the broad match modifier option only shows ads in searches which include the words designated with a plus sign (+women’s hats) or close variations of them."

"Phrase Match - Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Ads won't show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way. Designated with quotation marks ("women's hats")."

"Exact Match - Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variants include searches for keywords with the same meaning as the exact keywords, regardless of spelling or grammar differences between the query and the keyword. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search), implied words, synonyms and paraphrases, as well as words that have the same search intent. Designated with brackets, the keyword [women's hats] could show ads when someone searches on Google for 'hats for women'."

"Negative keywords - Exclude your ads from showing on searches with that term. So if you’re a hat company that doesn’t sell baseball hats, you could add a negative keyword, designated with a minus sign (-baseball caps)."

Let's try this analogy

If you plant a fruit tree and you only have one bucket of water (marketing budget) for it to grow, would you tip the entire bucket on it at once (broad match keywords) and wastewater that gets nowhere need the small root system?

Alternatively, do you think the fruit tree has a much better survival growth rate if you pour small and measured amounts of water onto the base of the trunk of the tree (exact match keyword) until it starts to show signs of growth over a longer period of time?

And perhaps once you are confident the tree is developing, you can add some nutrients to the water (phrase match keywords) to see if you can help the tree grow more quickly and expand it's root system to become a more stable fruit tree that's sure to provide fruit (ROI) in the very near future.

Don't forget to protect your fruit tree from unwanted visitors such as furry four-legged pets, birds and other nasty lawn grubs and bugs (negative keywords) to ensure the watering (budget) you are giving to the fruit tree each day isn't wasted by your dog digging up the precious plant and drinking the rest of the water from the bucket!

In Summary

So if you've followed along with the analogy, the priority order for match types is actually the complete reverse of what Google promotes. We believe in commencing with exact match keywords, then phrase match to help you identify more exact match terms to include in your campaign. Only when you have exhausted the traffic and conversions available to your keyword strategy would you look to include broad match keywords as a method to drawing out new keywords that are relevant and become exact match terms that produce a very positive ROI.

Of course, your keyword strategy needs to be tailored to your industry, products and services and your market size so please ensure you spend time developing a keyword strategy that suits your marketing objectives.

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