Hacking Google AdWords “Match Types” To Win More Business

Hacking Google AdWords “Match Types” To Win More Business

About keyword matching options

Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad. So you could use broad match to show your ad to a wide audience or you could use exact match to hone in on specific groups of customers.

How keyword match types work

In general, the broader the match type, the more traffic potential that keyword will have, since your ads may be triggered more often. Conversely, a narrower match type means that your ads may show less often – but when they do, they’re likely to be more related to someone’s search.

Understanding these differences can help you to choose the right options and improve your return on investment.

It is typically recommended starting with broad match to maximise the potential for your ads to show on relevant searches. You can also use the search terms report to monitor which keyword variations triggered your ads.

Learn more about the search terms report here >>

Keyword match types

Each match type can trigger your ad to show for a customer’s search in different ways. Next, learn a little bit more about each type.


Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations. So if your keyword is “women’s hats,” someone searching for “buy ladies hats” might see your ad.

Example keyword: women’s hats

Example search: buy ladies hat

Broad match modifier

Add a plus sign (for example, +keyword) to modify a broad match keyword. Ads may show on searches that include modified broad match keywords (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.

Symbol: Plus sign, for example +keyword

Example keyword: +women’s +hats

Example search: hats for women

Phrase Match

Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way.

Symbol: “keyword”

Example keyword: “women’s hats”

Example search: buy women’s hats

Learn more about phrase match.

Exact Match

Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search).

Symbol: [keyword]

Example keyword: [women’s hats]

Example search: hats for women

Negative Match

Ads may show on searches without the term. So, if you’re a hat company but you don’t sell baseball caps, you could add “-baseball caps” as a negative keyword so that your ads don’t show for people searching for baseball caps.

Symbol: -keyword

Example keyword: -baseball hats

Example search: women’s hats

NOTE: In this example, ads will show on searches for “women’s hats” but not on searches for “baseball caps”.

Bear in mind… Keywords aren’t case-sensitive, which means that they’re matched without regard to uppercase or lowercase letters. For example, you don’t need to enter “women’s hats” and “Women’s Hats” as keywords – just “women’s hats” will cover both.

Symbols have special meanings in AdWords, so you should generally avoid using them. Also, keywords can’t contain any non-standard characters like: ! @ % , *

You can use keyword match types with campaigns that show ads on the Search Network. On the Display Network, keywords are treated as broad match by default.

So that you don’t miss out on potential customers, we’ll show your ads for close variations of your phrase match and exact match keywords to maximise the potential for your ads to show on relevant searches.

Close variations include misspellings, singular forms, plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations and accents. So there’s no need to add close variations as keywords separately.

For example, if your phrase match keyword is “kid’s scooter”, you’d still want to show your ad when someone searches for “kids scooter” or “kid scooters”.

Keep in mind that even though we show close variations of your phrase and exact match keywords, these match types still give you more control than broad match and broad match modifier.

That’s because broad match and broad match modifier keywords also show for synonyms and related searches, which aren’t considered close variations.

For app install campaigns, we may extend the scope of some of your keyword match types in ways that are specific to apps. Here’s how this can work:

For exact match and phrase match keywords, we may make small changes to search terms (like adding or removing the word “app”) to better match with your targeted keywords.

For broad match keywords, we may use app category information to improve both your targeting precision and reach.

Starting With The End In Sight

  • What is your end goal here or desired outcome? This is the first question I will ask a prospective client in a first time meeting.
  • Before embarking on any campaign set up, take time to strategise and ask yourself what you actually want.
  • In other words, begin by deciding what your desired outcome is. Don’t just throw mud at the wall and wait for something to stick.
  • By taking the time to plan you give yourself clarity with what you hope to achieve from your online advertising efforts.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my monthly budget? (How much can I afford)?
  • What outcome do I want for my business?
  • What are my definitive goals?
  • What timeline have I set in place for these to succeed?

Your only goal: To generate as much business from your advertising budget – enabling you to achieve superb and ongoing results.

If you apply these principles and stay committed to monitoring them regularly, you will stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

As Google love to tell you in their marketing blurbs, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on AdWords to get a lot more oomph out of your pay-per-click advertising.

Still, even if you have the smallest of daily budgets, you have an obligation to yourself and your business to make sure your money is not being wasted. Your also want to ensure that the “right” people are clicking on your AdWords campaigns.

By using Google AdWords correctly you appear in the sponsored listings (these are displayed above and alongside the organic listings that also appear on the page.)

Again, this may sound expensive, though if managed properly, the money you spend can be very reasonable – taking your business or your brand into achieving real visibility and pulling in the targeted traffic that you need for true online success!

Tips For AdWords Success

Don’t be fooled. Some of these principles will seem like fundamentals – Clearly obvious must do’s.

The reason that I’m giving them kudos here is that they deserve it and are often overlooked! Without applying the correct strategies from the get-go, your campaigns will only ever be average.

The Benefits Of Choosing Google AdWords

  • Reach 90% of online users instantly
  • Gain instant positioning for your business
  • Control your spend with a daily budget
  • Ability to split test ads to maximise their efficiency
  • Decide exactly which pages to take you searchers too
  • Focus your targeting on specific countries or areas
  • Create and therefore manage your own ads

Believe me when I tell you this: I personally know how challenging and daunting Google AdWords can be, not just for the uninitiated, though even for the seasoned pros out there.

Professional advertisers who never stop looking for ways of staying ahead of the curve. Always looking to gain maximum exposure for their online advertising.

But the good news is: It doesn’t have to be intimidating – if you don’t let it!

Like anything we embark upon in life that is worthwhile, we must all acquire certain skill sets to achieve our objectives as we travel along life’s path.

We all know that Google AdWords has fast become one the most successful forms of targeting advertising in the world.

But due to the huge potential Google AdWords presents, the market is becoming increasingly more competitive.

Google is constantly introducing innovative technology and updates, as a way for businesses to stand out from their competitors.

I really hope this helped. Hey, have I missed anything here though? Drop me a note in the comments section below and let me know your thoughts.

Please take your time to grasp this properly. Yes, AdWords  “Match” types can be complicated at first, though it will begin to make sense.

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Phil Adair

Hot Clicks Pay-Per-Click Online Marketing

Suite 12, 5th Floor, Dymocks Building

428 George Street, Sydney 2000, NSW, Australia  

W: hotclicks.com.au

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About Phil Adair

Phil Adair is the host of one of the most downloaded online marketing podcasts on the internet (Go here to subscribe and listen to The Online Marketing Strategies Show.)

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2 thoughts on “Hacking Google AdWords “Match Types” To Win More Business”

    1. Hey great stuff Warren. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Lots of good AdWords Tips there as well… Best, Phil

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