Choosing the Right Match Types for Your AdWord Keywords

If you are using Google Search Network in AdWords for paid search, you have surely added keywords to your ad groups within your campaigns. For those of you that are new to AdWords, ad groups are sets of similar ads within an AdWord campaign, which also contains a set of the keywords in which you would like to ad to be triggered.

By default, the keywords that you ad to your ad group are set to a “broad match” match type. There are additional match types you can choose, along with modifications to match types, that give you more control on what searches trigger your ads.

Here are your keyword match type options:

  • Broad Match: As its name implies, your keyword can trigger an ad from broadly related search queries including misspellings, synonyms, and closely related variations.
  • Broad Match Modifier: Use broad match modifier to give you more control over your broad match keywords. by adding the plus sign (+) before a keyword (no space between: +keyword), you are requiring the search query to contain that keyword or a close variation of it in order to trigger your ad.
  • Phrase Match: Phrases or close variations of phrases. For example, a phrase match keyword of “soccer shoes” would show against searches for “indoor soccer shoes” or “soccer shoes for girls”, but not for “soccer cleats”. Phrase match keywords are contained in “quotation marks”.
  • Exact Match: An exact term or close variation of that exact term. Close variations include misspellings, singular and plural versions, acronyms, stemmings, abbreviations, and accents. If a search uses the right words but in the wrong order, it will not show. Same goes for searches that include extra words. Exact match keywords are contained in [brackets].
  • Negative Match: Negative match keywords (-keyword) require that a search must not contain this keyword in order to trigger your ad.

So, which ones do you use, and when? Here’s a few tips:

  1. Start with broad match: It’s default for a reason. Using broad match will maximize your likelihood of showing for searches that match or are closely related to that term.
  2. Review your search term report: The best way to determine what keywords are working is through your search terms report. As you monitor over time, you can use use more specific match types.
  3. Use broad match modifier and get more specific: Example “hawaii +vacation rental” will require the term “vacation” for your ad to be shown. Your ad shows only if the modified term is included.
  4. Use the broad match modifier keyword tool: Need some help getting started with modified broad search terms? Use the broad match modifier tool to help you along.
  5. Use negative keywords to reduce unwanted traffic: If you are selling men’s dress shoes, you can use “-womens” and “-basketball” to ensure your ad better matches your searcher’s intent.

With keyword match types, you should have the flexibility to zero-in on keywords that produce the traffic that you want. Analysis is key, so make sue that you visit your AdWords account often and use all of the great reporting information to your advantage.

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