AdWords matches: types, operators, working with semantics

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AdWords matches: types, operators, working with semantics
AdWords matches: types, operators, working with semantics

Mastering the different types of keyword match in AdWords is a step towards a successful PPC (Pay per click) campaign. But understanding all the terminology associated with PPC can be challenging, and match types are no exception.

This guide describes the advantages and disadvantages of each match type and the reasons for choosing one of them.

What are keyword match types

Keyword match types are settings that can be added to selected keywords to control which searches lead to ads. There are 5 types of AdWords match, each with its own specific advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the best one to bid on is critical to the success of your paid search campaigns and the overall he alth of your AdWords account. If you set limits too strict, you may miss out on potential long search terms that convert well andbring a positive return on investment. If you take the campaign too leniently, you will have to pay for unnecessary clicks.

Keyword match types in google adwords have different properties. So it's important to keep best practices in mind and make sure there's a clear understanding of why and when certain types are used.

google ads
google ads

Broad match

This is the default setting in AdWords and will serve ads to anyone who searches for the entered or related terms on the Google search network. This type of match can be very powerful when a marketer is in the learning and experimenting phase of keyword research. Setting up a broad match PPC campaign will provide a lot of data that can be used later.

For example, a payroll outsourcing proposal might bet on a broad match version of the term "salary". It will show their ads to anyone who searches for the specific phrase "payroll", as well as any other phrases containing this term (for example, "payroll software", "payroll scheme") and similar. The most obvious benefit of this is that the ad reaches a very large audience, potentially increasing brand awareness. In addition, a wide range of potentially relevant keywords are discovered, as well as the exact search volumes and key metrics that will be suitable formeasures the success of campaigns (for example, click-through rate and conversion rate).

But there are a number of risks when choosing this match type in AdWords. A lot of irrelevant search queries will display ads. Since Google is displaying them to people searching for similar terms, you can end up assigning search phrases that aren't relevant. In addition, you will be able to optimize your ad and your ad's landing pages well enough to achieve positive quality scores given the huge set of search terms that will trigger your ad.

google adwords match type
google adwords match type

Negative keywords

Negative match keywords must be entered with a minus sign in front of them. The use of such keywords indicates to AdWords that these keywords should not be used to display ads. For example, if you type "-storage" while using the broad match phrase "Krasnodar Freight Forwarders", your ads won't show up when someone searches for moving and storage companies or storage companies in Krasnodar. Negative keywords are entered only for the broad match type. They are a great way to improve your AdWords campaign ROI and are often used by both newbies and experienced AdWords users.

Negative keyword match types

These types play a leading role in determining the exact match of a keyword to a search query, which results in the display of an ad orits blocking. It should be noted that closed variants (spelling errors, singular or plural, abbreviation, origin, abbreviation) do not apply to negative keywords. Therefore, in the case when there is a need to block any of the options, the user must add each of them separately as negative keywords.

Broad match negative keywords

The rule here is that broad match negative keywords must be included in the search query, regardless of order. However, keep in mind that for any synonym, the ad will still be displayed. For example, "- soft toy" will block ads for queries like "soft toys online", "buying soft toys for girls", "soft toys and toys for children", etc. But if one of the keywords is missing in the query an ad will be shown, for example, for search queries: "toys for children", "soft dolls", etc.

google adwords
google adwords

Negative keyword phrase matching

A negative keyword written in quotation marks will not display ads when the search query contains terms in the same order. For example, typing -"soft toy" will not show searches like "soft toy for kids" or "soft toy for girls" but will show ads for queries like "soft toy", "toys", etc..

Exact match negative keywords

With this typeA negative match will block impressions only if the ad exactly matches the query. For example, [soft toy] will only block a specific ad for the query "soft toy", for other queries such as "soft toy for kids", etc., the ad will be shown.

Wide match modifier

This is a relatively well-known type of adwords match that many online marketers are still unaware of. Basically, it's a broad match keyword. But any of the individual words in the phrase that are preceded by a + sign must be in the query in order for the impression to occur. The ads will receive a high number of impressions, but the user will have a little more control.

For example, the broad match modifier keyword "+plumber + Krasnodar" will trigger ads if people search for:

  • Krasnodar plumber;
  • best plumber in Krasnodar;
  • cheap plumber in Krasnodar;
  • Krasnodar plumber.

In other words, ads will be shown to anyone who searches for any phrase that contains both the word "plumber" and the word "Krasnodar". An ad will not appear for "Krasnodar sewer cleaning" if a user bids on a keyword such as "Krasnodar plumber" with broad match as the match type.

google adwords match types
google adwords match types

Phrase match

Phrase matching allowseven more control over the search for ads, since the search query must include the specified specific phrase. In this case, the use of quotation marks means that the keyword uses the phrase match type.

For example, if "bike shop" is suggested as a phrase, ads will only show if search engines use specific words in that specific order. Thus, ads will be shown for:

  • bicycle shop near me;
  • bicycle shop in Krasnodar;
  • best bike shop in Russia.

Similar to broad match, this can generate new keyword variations and give you a good idea of the terms your target audience is using around a given keyword. They also provide some great ideas that can be obtained through other marketing channels. For example, as with the search terms above, you can see that people are searching for the key term plus "free shipping" or "like". This will help improve the offering of a product or service that a user might want to add to attract potential customers (for example, a "how to order" guide).

Thus, using phrase matching is a solid PPC tactic as it has the advantages of broad match while eliminating some of the disadvantages, especially when using negative keywords.

Exact match

Exact match is the most limited type of adwords match. Marketersmust search for the exact keyword or phrase to bid on in order to trigger one of the ads.

fold the puzzle
fold the puzzle

Exact match keywords are entered using square brackets. Simply put, if the exact match phrase "tennis coach" is used (i.e. [tennis coach]), users will only see ads if they search for the exact phrase "tennis coach" themselves. New AdWords users often assume that this is exactly what happens when they use broad match keywords. And this is where the serious PPC problems start.

The benefits of using exact match are very obvious.

Firstly, this google adwords match type gives you much more control over the search queries that show ads than any other match type. This, in turn, means that traffic to the site will become targeted and (provided that the keywords are well researched) will be the most profitable for the business.

Second, there is no need to worry about irrelevant traffic or introducing a long list of negative keywords.

Finally, it allows you to set your bets at a very granular level. For example, a user is selling sneakers through an e-commerce site. He may know that his PPC has an overall conversion rate of 2%. But he may also know that one particular keyword phrase (say "cheap professional sneakers") has an email conversion 10%. Assuming that the maximum CPC bids provide a positive ROI in a PPC account, he would be able to bid 5x for the exact match phrase [cheap professional sneakers]. This is despite the fact that he will still receive a positive ROI.

Disadvantages of exact matching

Of course there are downsides to this type of adwords match. Obviously, exact match cannot be used for keyword research or planning. This will not increase the brand's reach to a wider audience. But another issue that the user may not be aware of is that "exact" doesn't really mean accurate.

Spelling errors, plurals, and other closely related variations of a keyphrase may trigger ads. For example, if you bid on "retirement advice" as an exact match, ads might appear when people search for "retirement advice" (expected) as well as "retirement advice" or "retirement advice".

google adwords matching
google adwords matching

This might not seem like a big deal, as these choices match exactly the search intent of the specified keyword. But more recently, Google has started showing ads for exact match keywords when search terms use different word orders or contain keywords. For example, if you bid on the term "football coach", the ad mightshow up when people search for the word "football coach". Google insists that when syntactic variations change meaning, they won't match. But there are still obvious examples where phrases with different word order generate better or worse ROI.

How keyword match types affect bidding strategies

When starting a campaign, you can use all match types to see and learn how they work, and then figure out what works best. Therefore, you can first use broad match, broad match modifier, and then change the adwords match type to phrase and exact.

Thus, starting with the keyword "carrier companies of Krasnodar", you can use it with all match types:

  1. Broad match – Krasnodar trucking company.
  2. Broad match modifier – Krasnodar trucking + companies.
  3. Phrase match - "Krasnodar Freight".
  4. Exact match - [Krasnodar trucking companies].
adwords cubes
adwords cubes

In general, it's best to bid higher for exact match keywords and lower for broad match keywords. The former are likely to promote ads in search results that match the exact product or service. Since the marketer provides the search engine with exactly what he is looking for, it is worth focusing more on keywords with precisematching.

Phrase match will offer slightly less than exact match. And broad match keywords with a broad match modifier will be bid slightly less than phrase match keywords.

But you should always let data and results have the biggest impact on your bidding strategies.

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