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Keyword Match Types – Back to the Basics

Keyword Match Types – Back to the Basics

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about match types and how they work. So in this post I’m getting back to the basics with a quick explanation of keyword match types and why you might want to use one over the other.

Broad Match

Broad match is exactly what it sounds like…broad. This is the default match type when setting up your campaign. Your ad will show up for basically anything remotely related to the keyword you are intending to go after – including synonyms, singular/plural forms, relevant variants of your keywords, and phrases containing your keywords. Yes, this means more traffic for you, but what happens if that traffic isn’t even close to what your product or service is? The only good thing I see that comes from having broad match keywords is being able to use the search term report. This report shows you exactly what people are searching to trigger your ads. Using this report, you can find negatives as well as long tail keywords.

Example: cheap hybrid cars

Queries such as; used eco-friendly car or high gas mileage cars, would trigger your ads to show.

Phrase Match

Phrase match allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase. This match type doesn’t trigger your ads when someone searches for a synonym, singular or plural forms, or relavant variants of the keyword. Phrase match is the middle of the road match type that is more targeted than broad match, but more flexible than exact match.

Ex. – “cheap hybrid cars”

The keyword using this match type would trigger ads when the search query is something like “cheap hybrid cars” by ford, or “cheap hybrid cars” in Houston.

Exact Match

Exacty match only allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively. When using this match type, your keyword will likely not have many impressions, clicks or conversions for that matter. This is a good method to use if your budget is limited. However, if you create a large enough keyword list that captures just about everything that would trigger your ads using broad or phrase match – your clicks will be highly targeted.

Ex. [cheap hybrid cars]

Having the keyword set to exact match, like this, will ONLY trigger your ad if that exact phrase is searched with nothing before, after or in between it.

Modified Broad Match

This is my favorite. I like to think of it as a hybrid match type. Google describes modified broad match as having a greater reach than phrase, while at the same time having more control than broad match. Utilizing this match type could be highly beneficial for your ROI if you’re mainly using exact and phrase match only.

Ex. – +cheap +hybrid +car

Search queries like “buy cheap car that is a hybrid” would trigger your ad.

So, there you have it – a back to the basics PPC refresher. If you have any questions about which match type you should be using, send @forthea a tweet!

Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).


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