Keywords Match Types- Definition, Types and Use?

Learn what Keywords Match types are, its types, which one should you use and how is different from SEO Keywords


What are Keywords Match Types?

Keywords are the words/phrases that are used to match ads with terms that people search for. The keywords match type dictates how closely a keyword should match a user's search query so that it can be considered for bidding. This also enables you to filter out various terms that might sound alike but aren’t related to your product.

Keywords Match types

Here are the five keyword match types. Below, you can find a more detailed explanation about what each of these means.

  1. Broad Match
  2. Phrase Match
  3. Exact Match
  4. Negative Match

Broad Match

As the name suggests, this keyword match type shows your advertisement to every keyword related to yours. If you do not set keyword match types, then this is used as a default setting. 

Broad match triggers ad if any search query matches with any of the words in your long phrase, which isn’t something you want.

To deliver relevant matches, this match type may also take into account the following:

  1. The user’s recent search activities
  2. The content of the landing page
  3. Other keywords in an ad group to better understand keyword intent

Example for Student loans:

  • Student credits
  • Education loan
  • Should I take Student loans
  • Interest rate on Student loans

Phrase Match

Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. It’s a bit more targeted as compared to Broad Match.

This allows you to reach more searches than Exact Match and less searches than Broad March.

The syntax for phrase match is to put quotes around your keyword, such as “Water bottle”.

Example for “mcdonalds”

  • Mcdonalds burger
  • Mcdonalds near me
  • Mcdonalds in Delhi

Exact Match

You can use Exact match when you want to show ads on searches that have the same meaning or same intent as the keyword. This gives the most controls over who sees your ad, but reaches the least searches as compared to Broad Match and Phrase Match. Even if all the keywords in a search query are there but in different order, it won’t trigger the ad.

The syntax for exact match is to use square brackets, such as [Headphones].

Negative Match

You can use negative keywords to exclude your ads from showing on searches with that term. In simple words, you can enter the words/phrases where you don’t want your ads to appear. 

For example, if you sell “whiteboards”, you could add a negative keyword for “blackboard”.

There are other features like Negative Broad Match, Negative Phrase Match and Negative Exact Match which you can use according to your requirements.

Which Keyword Match type should you use?

Now after understanding all the keyword matches types, the next question that arises is which Type should you use.

No one can answer this better than you, you know your ideal customers and what they might search for, you can use previous campaigns data to determine if a particular keyword works better. Also, you might also want to take your budget into account.

Keywords Match Types: SEO vs Google Ads

Some might confuse the Keyword Match Types of Google Ads with SEO keywords. Although both involve search queries by users i.e. keyword term is used, the main difference is how each of them is used.

SEO Keywords are used for on-site optimization and are designed to attract users to your page as organic traffic. You don’t have control over what keywords your websites rank on.

Keywords Match Types are for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) i.e. paid marketing, you have a power over when or how your website appears.

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