Adwords Keyword Match Types: How Keyword Match Types Work

adwords keyword match types

Google Adwords keyword match types do only one thing – it tells Google how you want it to match your advertisements to search queries.

Google Adwords keyword match types are of four types which are broad keyword match type, modified keyword broad match type, phrase keyword match type, and exact match keyword match type.

In this very quick tutorial, you’ll learn the four keyword match types available in Google Adwords, their differences, and why Adwords keyword match types are important to the success of your PPC ad campaigns.

But first, let us define Google Adwords and Keywords.

What is Google Adwords?

Google Adwords is an advertising platform powered by Google, where advertisers pay to get visibility and traffic to their website.

The Google Adwords campaign comes in different types and forms.

For example, the objective of a campaign could be website visits, while the objective of another could be for mobile application installs.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are search queries or phrases that an online user types in search engines such while searching for a piece of information and/or item on the internet.

How To Find A Good Keyword For Your PPC Campaign?

Finding a good keyword for your paid Google ads campaigns can be daunting, especially if you’re new to it. It’s like you are looking for a pin in a haystack.

adwords keyword match typesHence, the way to go is by using keyword research tools. Some of the best keyword research tools for your PPC campaigns are Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ubbersuggest.

Properties Of A Good Keyword For PPC Campaign

There is always a million and one keywords to use for any PPC campaign and at every point in time.

The question now is how do you find the right ones? What should you look out for while researching into the right keywords to use for your next Google Ads campaign?

Below are key properties of a good keyword you should always look out for.

  • Must be niche specific.
  • Must resonate with your customer persona. I.e. what your ideal customers are searching for.
  • Good monthly search volume
  • Transactional in nature (ie.g. buy Aldo men shoe)
  • Long-tail (i.e. must contain three or more words)
  • Low to medium-competition – going after high-competition keywords can be very expensive.

How Do Adwords Keyword Match Types Affect Your Search Ad Results?

Google AdWords keyword match types can have a major impact on the performance of your ad campaigns. This is because they determine the exact search queries your ads appear for in Google.

As you decide on the AdWords keyword match type to use, there are a few key considerations to note:

  • Keyword Performance — You can predict how a keyword or similar keywords will perform by looking at how they performed in the past.
  • Keyword Competition — How your competitors bid on certain search queries will impact the return you see from certain types.
  • Bidding Cost — Cost per click and cost per conversion are heavily impacted by bids – often advertisers employ various methodologies for manipulating bids and frequently bid more or less aggressively based on the match type – this can strongly influence which match type is most appropriate.
  • Add Text & Account Structure — The way an advertiser structures an account can also have a massive impact on performance for different match types.

Optimizing your use of Google AdWords keyword match types is important because it allows you to reach your target audience while avoiding unnecessary spending.

What The Hell Are The AdWords Keyword Match Types?

Adwords keyword match types are the keyword parameters that control which search queries your Google ads appear for.

There are four keyword match types in Ads and each match type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Broad Keyword Match Type

The broad keyword match type if the default type in Google ads and with the widest reach.

When using broad keyword match type, your Google paid ad will be eligible to appear whenever a user searches for a query that includes any word in your search phrase, and in any order.

For example, a broad keyword match for “luxury wristwatch,” might your ads for queries such as  “luxury wristwatch,” or “luxury apartments.”

Your ad may also appear for synonyms of your key phrase “expensive clocks” which can be a major disadvantage because your ads are not appearing for irrelevant searches which can drive up your advertising cost.

To overcome this, you can set up negative keywords to prevent your ads from appearing for certain words and/or phrases.

Modified Broad Keyword Match

The modified broad keyword match type can be defined as the “middle ground” between the broad keyword match type and the more restrictive match types below.

The modified broad keyword match gives you better control over who sees what by using the “+” parameter. The “+” parameter simply tells Google that a search query MUST the term in order to trigger your ad.

For example, if you append the “+” parameter to the word “luxury” (i.e. +luxury) in a modified broad keyword type, then Google will only trigger your ads to queries that include the word luxury.

Phrase Keyword Match Type

The phrase keyword match offers a higher level of control for your ads triggers.

With the phrase keyword type, your Google ad will only appear when a user queries search engines using your keywords in the exact order you enter them, but there might be other words either before or after that phrase.

For example, the phrase keyword match for “luxury wristwatches,” can show your ads for “luxury wristwatches” “Italian luxury wristwatches,” or “luxury wristwatches wholesaler,”.

Since the query can contain text before or after your keywords, there is some flexibility, but you are leaving a lot of potential traffic on the table.

Exact Keyword Match Type

The exact keyword match type is the most specific Adword keyword match type.

For example, if your keyword phrase was “buy a luxury wristwatch,” your ad would only be eligible to show up when a user searches for that keyword or its close synonyms and plurals.

The advantage of using the exact keyword match type is that you only show your ads to the users who are more likely to buy your product or service.

On the downside, you will have less traffic to your product page because of the restrictions that come with the exact keyword match type, because the more specific a search query is, the lower the search volume it would get.


The keyword match type is only a piece of the puzzle in creating Google ads campaigns. The landing page and quality score are other important components of a good Ads campaign.

Are you struggling with creating winning Google Ads for your small business? Book a free strategy session with our Google Ads expert!

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