February 21, 2017

| Kyle Witeck


What are keyword match types?

When starting your Google Adwords campaign, you will need to categorize your keywords by match types.

This will tell Google how broad or restricted your keywords will be.

There are 4 different keyword match types: Broad Match, Modified Broad Match, Exact Match & Phrase Match.

Let’s break down what each one is.


Broad Match Keywords:

Broad match keywords are exactly like they sound. They are the default match type when adding a new keyword into your campaign.

They reach the largest audience, but that isn’t always a good thing.

Let’s just say that one of your keywords you will be using for your campaign is “blue shoes”

If you choose to make this a broad match keyword, Google will automatically allow your ad to show for things that may be blue, but not shoes, & even for different colored shoes.


Broad match keywords allow your ad to show for other keywords that are closely related or synonyms for the original keyword that you have used.

So, yes it will get you the largest audience, but that audience may be extremely irrelevant. Be careful using broad match keywords! Especially if you’re on a budget.

Modified Broad Match Keywords:

Modified broad match finds itself snug between broad match keywords & the more restricted keyword match types, like phrase match and exact match.

If you want to use a keyword as modified broad match, simply add a plus sign (  example: +blue +shoes )  before each of the keywords that you ALWAYS want to be included in a persons search query.

Modified broad match will lock in what ever keywords you use a plus sign before and Google will be sure to only show your ad for things that include those keywords.


If you decide to make only one word modified broad match, such as : +blue shoes, then your ad will always show for search queries that include blue in them, but it may also show for other queries that include synonyms or related words to the word shoes.

(Example: blue slippers, blue running shoes, blue loafer, etc.)

Modified broad match is extremely useful. It reaches a large audience, but you can keep it under your control.

Exact Match Keywords:

May 2017 Update: Exact Match is no longer exact! Click here to find out more about the updated version of Exact Match

Exact match keywords are the most specific you can get with a match type. You can make a keyword exact match by putting these symbols around them: [blue shoes]

This will tell Google that you are restricting your ads to show only when blue shoes is typed into a search query, word for word. It will not show your ad if anything else is typed in with it.

Example: Blue Running Shoes, Buy Blue Shoes, USA Blue Shoes.


Your ad will only show when someone types in: Blue Shoes

If you’re on a tight budget and need to be as specific as possible, try some exact match keywords. They are sure to keep away irrelevant traffic.

Phrase Match Keywords:

Phrase match is restrictive but also more broad than exact match.

If you want to make one of your keywords phrase match, simply add quotation marks around the keywords.

Example: “blue shoes”

By doing this, you’re telling Google that you want your Ad to show when someone types in blue shoes, in that exact order. But your ad may also show when someone types in something else before or after blue shoes.

Example: buy blue shoes, buy blue shoes usa, find blue shoes online.


Your ad will not show when someone types anything in between the words blue and shoes.

Example: blue running shoes, blue usa shoes, blue and grey shoes.

This is a good way to control what search queries your ads are showing for, and in what order.


Adwords Match Types make up part of the backbone of your campaign. If you aren’t using the right ones, you can easily be flushing your money down the toilet.

Every match type will cost more or less than the other, since your competitors will be bidding more or less on that type.

Blog References:  Wordstream

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