How Keyword Match Types Work! Increase Search Campaigns ROI


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Keyword match types are crucial if you want a search campaign to be successful. Keyword match kinds determine how closely a keyword must relate to a search term in order to allow an advertisement to appear in search results.

This article will explain how to use keyword match types in a paid search engine optimization strategy.

How do you define Keyword Match Types?

You will need a keyword list to conduct a paid search campaign. Keywords are keywords or phrases that relate to a Google search and appear in the results page.

Match types are similar in nature to the rules keywords must follow to generate an advertisement. Match types determine how closely a keyword must match a search query to trigger an ad.

Match types are similar to block games that babies play.

To search Google for a particular shape, a user must first match a keyword and then qualify for an auction. 

These keywords are the most popular match types currently:

  • Broad match (highest reach, most loose query match).
  • Phrase match (medium query and medium reach)
  • Exact match (lowest reach, tight query match)
  • Negative matches (will remove some queries from the results).

Every type of keyword match has its pros and cons. Exact matches are more targeted and show ads for specific searches.

Why should you care about keyword match types in your business?

Why are match types so important in a paid search campaign?    

It is important to understand that a keyword does not mean the same as a phrase. Also known as a query,

A search phrase is a term that a user types into Google.com’s search engine. To help you connect your ad to Google.com, match the keyword with users’ search terms. 

The query: Basement Restoration

Google uses the keyword match type to determine which ads will be shown when someone searches basement restoration.

Match types are, in other words: These are ways businesses can ensure that they bid on the correct keywords.

  1. Search terms that match the ad
  2. Avoid terms that are not related or low-value

These are useful for keeping your ad campaigns lean and efficient. Google determines if a user’s query is relevant enough to warrant a click on your ad. This happens before you even bid on a keyword.

Take another look at this column. Only one keyword and match type is listed in the Example keyword columns. Multiple search terms could trigger the keyword in an online auction.

Each match type has different opportunities for your ads and you can click in the SERP

Match types can be very important if you want to get maximum value from your PPC advertising budget. This will decrease irrelevant matches.

Keyword match types play a crucial role in deciding how much advertising budget you spend. Keyword strategies designed well will increase searcher conversions.

Keyword Match Type 1: Broad Match

Broad matches means broad as you think. Broad matching can also be used to match keywords that don’t include your keyword term. These include phrases, synonyms, misspellings and other terms that are related to your keyword.

Let’s say mothers day flowers. These broad keywords could also be searched for terms like:

  • Mother’s Day Gift
  • Mother’s Day Flowers Best
  • Flowers delivered before Mother’s Day
  • Holiday flowers
  • Roses for Mom

Google is making predictions here.

One last note. One last note. Google defaults to broad matches. You don’t need to use any special syntax. You just need to add the keyword.

The Pros and Cons Of Broad Match

Do you remember when I said that a broad match “casts” the largest net? It is possible to compare a broad match with an industrial fishing boat. 

To find lots of information, you only need one or two search words. The broad match gathers many search terms and you don’t have to manually add them.

While the reach of search terms is large, broad matches can have a loose match. You could be paying for irrelevant queries.

Broad match keywords will have a lower quality score.

It is important to remember that broad matching does not guarantee traffic quality. More clicks are necessary for increasing conversions and revenue.

A broad match is great for increasing traffic to your landing pages. You will need to pay more attention in your keyword list.

Keyword Match Type #2: Phrase Match

A mix of broad and exact matches is called a Phrase match. These match types allow for more targeting than broad searches, but they are less flexible than an exact match.

Phrase match uses a special syntax. It can be used by placing quotes around the keyword.

Use the keyword “Healthy Dog Food” to match search terms like:

  • Healthy food
  • Where can you find healthy dog food?
  • Costco has healthy dog food

But, this is not true if search terms change meanings such as

  • Healthy food to feed your dog

Match is a fishing metaphor. It casts individual-sized lures into the ocean.

Phrase Match Changes: Incorporating Broad Match Modifier

The phrase matching of today and 2020 may look slightly different. Now let’s see how these changes affect keyword matching.

The phrase match is a combination of the old broad modifier behavior (BMM) and the phrase match behavior. 

What were the old phrases and BMM terms that were used in the new phrase matching behavior. Google gives an example.

Old phrase match could be used for queries that include keywords or similar words with words before them. 

BMM can match any search that contains the keyword terms and variations in any order. This could include words that are between, before, or after the terms.

BMM won’t include certain search terms anymore in the new phrase match. When the keyword meaning is changed by word order (e.g. “Moving service Boston to NYC”) Google calls this new phrase “Match behavior”.

Keyword searches that include the keyword meaning could result in ads. 

The phrase matching now includes broad match modifier traffic. According to the old practice, phrase matches will not include search terms which are unclear or ambiguous.

Are you using many BMM keywords? Google warns that you should expect a drop in traffic. The phrase match exclusions are what causes this.

Keyword Match Type 3: Exact Match

Exact matches are the best kind of keyword match. This option limits your audience, but it allows you to choose which search terms will trigger ads in the SERP.

Ads will only show for keywords with the same intent and meaning as your keyword. 

Keywords that match this keyword exactly could include:

  • Leather wallet
  • Leather wallets

But and not:

  • Suede wallet
  • Nylon wallets

What are the Pros and Cons to Exact Match

While the industrial fishing net can be used for a wide range of purposes, spearfishing can be used to match specific techniques.

Spear fishers are known for catching fish one at a time and being very particular about what they catch. It is not an easy job and you can only catch one fish at a time.

Although the exact match is identical, you may not have the best query match or relevancy. This can lead to you missing valuable keyword-related traffic.

There are many benefits to exact match. You will need more exact match keywords to increase traffic. Although this can be tedious, it is worth the effort.

Keyword Match Type 4: Negative Match

No matter how detailed your keyword list is, search terms that aren’t relevant to your ads will still show up in Google.

In situations like this, search term exclusions are just as important than search term inclusions.

These keywords can be used to identify “bad matches”, which waste ad dollars. 

For example, you might be an aesthetician who offers certain services.

When are you going to need negative match types?

Search Terms Report

Monitor your campaign performance and make a report on search terms.

Search Terms Report

To access the search term report, sign in to Google Account.

View Search Terms Report

Be aware that not all search phrases may appear on this page. Google updated the report in 2020. This report will include search terms that have generated impressions or clicked.

Tip: This search terms report can be used to identify keywords that you should ban.

Add negative keywords to a campaign

It’s easy to add a negative keyword to Google Ads. Sign in to Google Ads and click Keywords. Then, click the + and Negative keywords buttons.

It is possible to add negative keywords to the page.

Broad Match Negative vs. Broad Match Negative vs.

Did You Know that there are additional controls for keywords with negative matches?

Negative matches are divided into three categories

Google will add your negative keyword as an exact match keyword to search results.

Notice: We use broad match keywords for most of our negative keyword lists. However, exact match negatives can still be possible.

Modified Widematch: Tips to Adapt to Its Retirement

Google Ads began to remove the broad match modifier (BMM) in February 2021. This was to replace match type.

1. Pay close attention to your search terms report

The new phrase match behavior will cover more traffic that the broad match modified category. It could also lead to an increase in searches for your accounts. It is important to be alert.

There are two scenarios you should consider.

2 Let Google assist with redundancies.

What if you have exactly the same keyword for phrase match than BMM? You might be tempted to delete the BMM version.

You can wait until July’s rollout. This will highlight duplicates in the same ad group.

3. Support Google’s push for automation

Google recently suggested that accounts would see a 20% rise in conversions when the three things are combined.

  1. Broad match keywords
  2. Search queries can be answered by ads
  3. Smart bidding strategy

Google Ads features will be phased out to encourage users to sign up for this trinity.

Google Performance Maxcampaigns is now available. You won’t be able control your match types or bidding with these new features. This new version of Smart campaign is great for testing broad match campaigns with responsive search ads and smart bid.

TL:DR: Highlights Keyword Match Type

Too long? Don’t worry! Here are some highlights on keyword match types.

  • Google uses keywords match types to decide how keywords will be interpreted. 
  • There’s four match types: phrase match (broad match), exact match (match with negative words) and match with negative words.
  • Match types allow for you to balance query traffic against keyword traffic. Exact match have the greatest reach, but also the most targeted.
  • Google Search terms (queries) are different to keywords. You have the option of controlling which search terms match your keyword by using the keyword match types.
  • Search terms that are not matched by your keywords will be removed. This report will show you how search terms compare to your keywords.
  • Google has discontinued the BMM match type (BMM) with broad modifier (BMM). A keyword phrase’s meaning can be changed by changing the word order.

Looking for more information about keyword match types and Google Ads strategies?

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.