Google Adwords offers the choice of three different keyword match types, the match types are phrase, broad and exact match. If you are new to advertising on Google Adwords the match types can be pretty confusing and how you use them really impacts how you maximize your budget. Using the various match types in your campaigns effectively is a real win in killer PPC.

Everyone at work tends to tease me about the fact that I use chocolate when helping to explain Google match types. It seems to be something everyone can understand (and it can also possibly make them a little hungry). So here goes my metaphorical Google search match type chocolate story. Pretend like you run an online chocolate store. You are planning your search campaign.

Broad Match
You decide to bid on broad match “milk chocolate” this means you could show up for search queries like:

  • cocoa
  • chocolate
  • milk
  • white chocolate
  • milk chocolate bunny

I am not exaggerating here, you really can and will show up for a wide span of keywords that could eat through your budget really quickly. So, you could avoid broad match completely in your paid search campaigns, or you can find ways to make the benefit outweigh the cost. You can avoid terms that you don’t want to show up on by adding negative keywords. Broad match terms are written out as just the keywords: milk chocolate

Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are your way of telling Google the keywords that you don’t want to show up for. Broad match negatives can work in much the same manner as broad match keywords you are bidding on, typically being pretty specific with your negative keywords can help manage your campaign. So if you decide that you don’t want to show up for keyword searches related to cocoa products in your campaign you can add cocoa as a negative keyword. Negative keywords are written with a minus sign: -cocoa

Phrase Match
Phrase match is a bit like broad match but much more specific. So for a phrase match search for “milk chocolate” you would show up for keywords that include “milk chocolate” in the same order, but opens up additional words such as:

  • milk chocolate bunny
  • milk chocolate bar
  • I love milk chocolate
  • milk chocolate tshirt

You can use negative keywords for phrase match terms also to help keep you showing up for the right kinds of keywords for your ad group. Phrase match keywords in PPC are written in quotation marks like:  “milk chocolate”

Exact Match
Exact match is exactly like it says, if you bid on “milk chocolate” you will only show up for the query “milk chocolate.” This can be good and bad. On extremely competitive keywords bids can be pushed up on exact match phrases, but there is less of a risk for showing up for words that do not match with your business goals and products. Exact match keywords show up in brackets: [milk chocolate]

It seems like you would want to favor one over the other and I do have a tendency to love exact match terms because they require less work, but your broad match and phrase match terms give you a good opportunity to reach a broader audience and learn what additional keywords you should grow your campaigns and ad groups with..

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