A question my clients often ask is what matching types should they be using on Google Adwords or other PPCs such as Bing ads so I thought this would be useful to my blog readers too. Also as there is a relatively new Google Adwords matching type it might even explain something new to those slightly more experienced PPC users.
What are Google Adwords Keyword Matching Types?
The matching options you use with your keywords to help control which searches can trigger your ad. When starting out Google recommends starting with broad match to maximise your potential to show your ads on relevant searches but be warned this can attract poor quality traffic. The English language is a funny thing and it is amazing how some very strange search terms can bring up your Advert. Many words have multiple meanings and however much planning to eliminate these is done some will always slip through. An example I have come across which I wasn’t expecting included the search term “Santa Claus stand for the garden” coming up in a gardeners Adwords campaign when broad match was set on the keyword ” Gardening”. The counter of this poor quality traffic is that is a good way of finding negative keywords (at a cost) early on in the campaign.
In general, the broader the keyword matching option, the more traffic potential that keyword has. Conversely, the narrower the keyword matching option, the more relevant that keyword will be to someone’s search. Understanding these differences can steer you in choosing the right keyword matching options and can help you improve your return on investment. So to the explanation of the matching types.
About keyword match types
Each match type (which are specified by separate symbols) will trigger your ad to show for a customers’ search in different ways. The tabs below taken from Google Adwords help serves as an introduction to the different match types, ordered from broad to narrow.
This is the default matching option. With broad match, your ad may show if a search term contains your keyword terms in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads can also show for close variations of your keywords. Sticking with the broad match default is great if you don’t want to spend a lot of time building your keyword lists, and want to capture the highest possible volume of ad traffic. You can use it with negative keywords to avoid highly irrelevant traffic.
Special Symbol : None
Example Keyword : women’s hats
Ads may show on searches that : include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations
Example searches: buy ladies hats
You can add a modifier, the plus sign on your keyboard +, to any of the terms that are part of your broad match keyword phrase. By adding a modifier, your ads can only show when someone’s search contains those modified terms, or close variations of the modified terms, in any order. The modifier won’t work with phrase match or exact match keywords.
Unlike broad match keywords, modified broad match keywords won’t show your ad for synonyms or related searches. For this reason, it adds an additional level of control. Using broad match modifier is a good choice if you want to increase relevancy even if it means you might get less ad traffic than broad match.
Special Symbol : +keyword
Example Keyword : +women’s +hats
Ads may show on searches that : contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order
Example searches: hats for women
With phrase match, your ad can show when someone searches for your exact keyword, or your exact keyword with additional words before or after it. We’ll also show your ad when someone searches for close variations of that exact keyword, or with additional words before or after it. Using phrase match can help you reach more customers, while still giving you more precise targeting. In other words, your keywords are less likely to show ads to customers searching for terms that aren’t related to your product or service. To use a phrase match keyword, simply surround the entire keyword with quotation marks. For example, “women’s hats”.
Special Symbol : “keyword“
Example Keyword : “women’s hat’s“
Ads may show on searches that : are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase
Example searches: buy women’s hats
Special Symbol : [keyword]
Example Keyword : [women’s hat’s]
Ads may show on searches that : are an exact term and close variations of that exact term
Example searches: women’s hats
Special Symbol : –keyword
Example Keyword : –women’s
Ads may show on searches that : are searches without the term
Example searches: baseball hats
A useful Google Adwords video summaries it nicely here…click to watch
Hope that makes it all a bit clearer on Google Adwords Matching types.