Google’s keyword match types ensure you’re getting your money’s worth on your Google Ad campaigns, ensuring you’re not wasting money attracting unqualified traffic that’s unlikely to do business with you.

Read on to learn more about the different keyword match types for PPC ads, the types of traffic they generate, and how to use them.

Keyword match type

Google Ads has four different keyword match types: broad match, phrase match, exact match, and negative match. The image below shows the queries in which your ad will appear using each type of syntax, and the search terms for which your ad will appear.

Keyword match type

Below we’ll dive into each type and provide how each type appears in search results.

1. Broad match

Broad keyword match is when your ad appears in search results for queries that are related to the meaning of the keyword but don’t necessarily contain the exact word. This is the default type for Google Ads and works best with Smart Bidding. Grammar is to write out your keywords.

If your keyword is iPhone cases, your ad may appear on queries about Apple phone cases and the best iPhone cases and phone cases for kids.

Broad keyword matching can help you reach a wider audience, but your visitors are undefined because they search for terms related to your keywords. However, to ensure that traffic is relevant, Google also takes into account the user’s search activity, the content on the landing page, and other keywords in the ad group.

2. Phrase match

Phrase match will show your ad on queries that have the same meaning as your keyword or a more specific keyword form. Words can be added before or after the keyword, but not in between. The syntax is to put quotation marks around the target word, eg “keyword”.

If your phrase match keyword is “iPhone case”, you might appear in a query to buy iPhone case, blue iPhone case, iPhone case sale.

Using phrase match will get your ads in front of a smaller audience, but they’ll only show on searches that include your ad’s purpose, so your audience is more granular. Note that modified broad match has been discontinued in 2021 and its parameters have been added to the phrase match criteria.

Broad and Phrase Match

The main difference between broad match and phrase match is that phrase match reaches a smaller audience but the traffic is better suited to what you have to offer, whereas broad match reaches a wider audience but searchers may not necessarily be looking for what you are selling The product.

So, if your search term is iPhone and you use broad match, your ad will show when someone searches for iPhone cases, iPhone cases, or iPhone 11 cases, but if you use phrase match, your ad will show Will be shown for iPhone case only.

Table showing the difference between broad match and phrase match

3. Exact match

Exact match is the opposite of broad match, in that your ad will only show on queries that have the same meaning or intent as your keyword. This can include singular or plural forms, misspellings, abbreviations and accents.

With this type, your site will attract more savvy visitors, but your reach will be smaller.The syntax is to put keywords in square brackets, so .

If your keyword is [iPhone case]your ad will appear on queries for iPhone cases, iPhone cases, and iPhone cases.

4. Negative keyword match types

Negative keywords are used to exclude your ad from specific queries to help you focus on reaching the right users. Your ad will show for related terms, but not for the exact words you wrote.

Negative keyword match type

There are three different types of negative keywords: negative broad match, negative phrase match, and negative exact match. We will discuss them below.

1. Negative Broad Match

Negative broad match is the default negative keyword. Your ad won’t show if the query contains all of the terms you’ve selected, regardless of order. The syntax is to simply write your keywords.

Google takes the running shoes keyword as an example, and says that your ad will show for blue tennis shoes and running shoes, but not for blue running shoes, running shoes, or running shoes.

2. Negative Phrase Match

Negative phrase match keywords will not show your ad on queries that contain the keywords you provide in the exact same order. If the query contains additional terms, your ad will not show if the order matches the keywords you set. The syntax is to write keywords in quotes.

If your keyword is “running shoes,” your ad will show on searches for blue tennis shoes, running shoes, and running shoes, but not blue running shoes.

3. Negative exact match

Negative exact match will exclude your ad from queries that contain the exact keywords in the exact order you set, without any additional terms. The syntax is to write keywords in parentheses.

According to Google, your ad will show for blue tennis shoes, running shoes, blue running shoes, running shoes, not running shoes.

Use keyword match types to maximize the ROI of your PPC advertising.

Using the right keyword match types ensures that the money you spend on your Google Ad campaigns helps you drive the right type of traffic, making you more likely to attract new customers, drive sales, and maximize ROI .

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