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As many digital marketers know, keywords are the centralized targeting tool for Google Search campaigns. Campaigns are built around keyword strategies focusing on different parts of the sales funnel, and keyword match types can represent different parts of the funnel.



Keyword Match Type Categories

1. Broad Match

Broad match types are treated as a general guideline. They reach the widest audience because they pick up any word or order of words from the search query. This can include misspellings, synonyms, singular and plural forms, related searches, and other relevant variations. Keep in mind that broad match types can drive up costs with irrelevant searches, so it is important to develop negative keyword lists to avoid irrelevant clicks and costs. 

2. +Broad+Match+Modifier (BMM)

This is a more responsible broad match option and is viewed as a middle ground between broad match and restrictive match types. Close variants can include plurals, misspellings, and errors in spacing. BMM can still produce irrelevant clicks and searches, but it typically provides higher click-through-rates (CTR) and is great for keeping a high impression count while narrowing irrelevance. BMM offers a wide variety of searches, which can provide you with valuable keywords you may not have previously considered.

3. “Phrase Match”

Phrase match types can eliminate any risky or potentially unnecessary traffic that broad match and broad match modifiers can produce. With phrase match, ads will appear when a user searches for keywords in the correct order and when they include additional words. Phrase match does not include search terms in the middle of a phrase but is more flexible than exact match types. This option also allows Google to exercise more discretion than broad match or broad match modifiers. Phrase match isn’t helpful for driving high volume traffic, but it is useful when word order matters and for driving relevant traffic that is more likely to convert. 

4. [Exact Match]

As the name suggests, exact match types will only show for exact keywords or close variants, which can include singular or plural forms, misspellings, abbreviations, accents, additional prepositions, conjunctions, and reordered words with identical meanings. Exact match is the most restrictive match type. It has the highest relevance with the lowest reach, and it can improve quality score. Exact match can significantly drop traffic, but the clicks produced will most likely convert. This option can result in higher CTR’s but also higher costs-per-clicks (CPC).

5. -Negative Match

Negative keyword match types help avoid unnecessary clicks and costs by not showing up for irrelevant results. These can be used in broad, phrase, or exact match types. 

Keyword Match Type Examples

Match Type Symbol Example Keyword Ads May Show On Searches That Example Searches
Broad None chocolate cake Include misspellings, synonyms, singular/plural forms, related searches, and other relevant variations sheet cake, devil food cake, black forest gateau
Broad Modifier + +chocolate +cake Contain modified term (or close variants, not synonyms), and any order chocolate cake batter, white chocolate cake, chocolate fudge cake
Phrase “chocolate cake” Are a phrase, close variant to that phrase chocolate cake near me, chocolate cake recipes
Exact [ [chocolate cake] Exact term or close variants chocolate cake

When to Use Each Match Type For Your Campaigns

  1. Exact Match

Exact match types are great for branded terms. If users are searching for your exact brand name, they are most likely interested in converting. Also, for non-branded efforts, exact match is a great opportunity to capture people who are unaware of your brand but know exactly what they’re looking for through previous research.

  1. Phrase Match

While phrase match is not ideal for driving high volume traffic like broad match and BMM, it is still beneficial for niche keywords that must stay in a specific order. Also, additional keywords can be added to the beginning or end of the phrase.

  1. Broad Match + Modifier

BMM helps advertisers get the most out of long-tailed keywords. With BMM, less management is required because the + indicates that the specific keyword can appear in any order of the keyword phrase as long as the indicated keyword exists in the search query.

  1. Broad Match

Broad match is great for the beginning phases of a campaign before eliminating keywords that drive high cost but have a low click volume.

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