The Different Keyword Match Types Available To Google AdWords Advertisers.

Google’s Adwords service helps you optimise how a search query finds your adverts. It does this by offering keyword match types. Depending on what you are wanting to achieve, it is best that you know what type of keyword match type would work best for you and your advertising goals.

Google keyword match types

If you want search queries to be simple or more specific, Google adwords gives you that option with its four different match types. These include: ‘broad match, modified broad match, phrase match and exact match. These match types will allow you to tell Google how you want your adverts to be found in a way that fits what you’re looking to achieve.


The broad match type helps you find a larger audience of website visitors. This is due to your adverts being able to appear if any part of your key phrase is used, regardless of the word order. For example if your keyword was: ‘cool shoes’ your advert would still be eligible to appear if someone searched ‘cool shoe’, ‘running shoes’ or ‘cool cars’. Synonyms are taken into account, so searching: ‘awesome footwear’ would still be eligible in a search query.

Broad match type

This match type is perfect for reaching a larger audience, but other factors should be considered. For example, while your adverts are being seen by a large amount of people, are they your target audience, and how will this affect your advertising spend?

broad match type keyword

While you might get lots of traffic to your website they may not lead to many conversions, due to traffic being irrelevant.                                                                                                                                                       

As long as you constantly monitor your search query reports, you have the ability to look out for traffic that doesn’t give much in conversions compared to clicks. You can do this by checking the keywords that led bad traffic to your ad and making them no longer eligible in a search query by using negative keywords. This will save you money from your advertising spend as you are managing the cost of your clicks in relation to the conversion rate.


The modified broad match gives you more control over your keywords but is less restricting than other match types. It allows you to make adverts only appear when a specific word, chosen by you, is used in a search query. You can do this by adding a ‘+’ in front of a keyword in AdWords. For example, if your entire keyword was ‘plastic boxes’ and you wanted ‘plastic’ to be the one word required in a search, you would add  ‘+’ in AdWords like this; ‘’+plastic boxes”. Potential matches for this could include ‘plastic cubs’ or ‘plastic bottles’ but not ‘wooden boxes’ because it doesn’t have the word ‘plastic’.

modified broad match

This gives you more control over what is eligible for your ad to appear on a search query, allowing you more possibility of relevant traffic and better use of your advertising spend with more conversions through clicks.


Phrase match type keywords show your adverts only when the keywords are in a specific order, but other words can come before or after them. For example, if the keyword was; ‘medium hair brushes’, your ad can appear if someone searched; ‘groovy wooden medium hair brushes’ or ‘black medium hair brushes’. This is because the word order has not been changed so these search queries are still eligible. If someone searched; ‘medium black hair brushes’ this wouldn’t be eligible because the keywords are not in the order you put them in.

phrase match type

The phrase match type will help you get a more specific and relevant audience than the broad match type and its modified counterpart. This leads to a higher possibility of conversions but also leads to a loss in traffic and clicks compared to other match types available.


The exact match type is more specific compared to the other match types. But with that it can become very restrictive. This is due to your ad only appearing for someone who is searching for your exact keyword, or close variants of the keyword. These variants include acronyms, misspellings, singular and plural forms, stemmings, abbreviations and accents. For example, if your chosen keyword was; ‘white mouse mat’ it would have to be searched either exactly as it is written or in a variation that gives the same meaning. If someone searched ‘wight mouse mat’ (misspelling) or ‘mouse mat white’ (rearranged word order) these both would still be eligible for an advert to appear because they have the same meaning as the used keyword.

exact keyword match types

The exact match type has the highest chance of conversions with the traffic it acquires, but it has the lowest possibility for reaching an audience compared to the other match types available. This is why it’s so restrictive to use.


Now that you know all of the match types Google offers, you need to make sure you utilise them effectively enough to improve your AdWords performance. If your requiring a campaign to get your adverts seen at a high number use both broad matching types. Just remember about how much it may affect your advertising spend and if it will get you the conversions you want.

However, if you want to get the most relevant traffic and the most conversions from clicks use the phrase and exact match type. Just remember this will mean a smaller audience and therefore less clicks overall.

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