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Google AdWords Match Types

One of the biggest mistakes made when setting up campaigns or adding new keywords to PPC accounts is to add them without selecting Match Types so they default to Broad Match. In order to optimise your campaigns, Google provides a variety of different Match Types to apply to the keywords you are bidding on. This helps you to control when your adverts are triggered dependent on the search queries entered by users.

There are currently 6 match types available –

Google AdWords Match Types
Google AdWords Match Types

Broad Match

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This Match Type has the largest reach and is the default match type. Broad Match will trigger your advert for all variation of your keyword including synonyms, related phrases and plurals.

If you bid on the keyword Computer Games on Broad Match it could serve your advert to people searching for computer games, laptops and maybe even toys.

Pros – Maximum traffic

Cons – Could display your advert for irrelevant searches

Modified Broad Match

Modified Broad is the newest Match Type; designed to have the large reach of Broad Match, but allows you to lock in certain words within your phrase to make sure the searches are still relevant. Modified Broad Match is applied by add a + sign in front of the word you wish to lock in.

If you bid on the keyword +Computer Games the word computer is locked in and the word games is still on Broad Match. Therefore your advert could be triggered by the search queries computer games, free computer games and maybe even computer repairs.

Pros – Large volume of potential traffic

Cons – locking in the correct words can be time consuming and tricky

Phrase Match

Phrase Match turns the keywords into a phrase which helps improve quality, but will reduce the amount of available traffic. When using Phrase Match your adverts are only triggered when the search query contains the phrase in the exact order. However, the search query can contain additional keywords before or after the phrase. Phrase Match is applied by adding “speech marks” before and after your phrase.

If you bid on the keyword “Computer Games” your advert may display when users search for the terms computer games and cheap computer games. However it won’t display for the search terms computer PC games or computer shooting games.

Pros – Controlled cost, Improved quality score and ROI

Cons – Reduced impressions and traffic

Exact Match

Exact Match is the most targeted Match Type which triggers your advert for only the most relevant searches. Exact Match can be applied by adding [square brackets] around your keyword, a user must exactly enter this keyword in order to trigger your advert; this significantly reduces the amount of available traffic.

If you bid on the keyword [Computer Games] your advert will only display when a user searches for Computer Games. It won’t display for the search terms buy computer games or computer games charts.

Pros – more relevant clicks, strongest potential CTR and quality score

Cons – Greatly reduced traffic and exposure

Negative Match

The Negative Match type allows you to eliminate irrelevant searches by adding keywords at campaign or ad group level that you do not want your advert to be displayed for. This allows you to select not to show your advert is a user enters a particular keyword. Negative match is applied by adding a -negative sign in front of the keyword.

If you bid on the keyword -Cheap this will prevent your advert being displayed to users searching for cheap computer games.

Pros – Filters out irrelevant impressions and clicks

Cons – None

Embedded Match

Embedded Match is an extension of Negative Match which allows you to be more precise in selecting when you do not want your advert to be displayed. Embedded Match is the combination of a Negative Match and any of the other Match Types. For example a Negative Exact Match keyword is applied by adding the minus sign and the square brackets e.g. -[Computer Games].

If you sell Harry Potter computer games you will want your advert to display for terms containing this phrase however you will not want to display for the exact term. If you add the keyword -[Harry Potter] to your Harry Potter Computer Games Ad Group your ads will not appear if a user searches for Harry Potter, but will appear is a user searches for Harry Potter Computer Games.

Pros – Allows you to take even more control over when your adverts are displayed

Cons – You must make sure the your Embedded Match keywords do not prevent your other keywords from triggering your adverts

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