Google Ads Keyword Match Types

When it comes to building successful Google Ads campaigns, deciding which keywords you want to target is one of the most important aspects to achieving a good result. However, choosing the right Keyword Match Type comes in a very close second.

In fact, selecting the right match type has the ability to make or break your Google Ads campaign. Investing a little time in refining and improving your ads is going to pay off, in the long run, giving you greater control over your Return On Investment (ROI).

What Are Keyword Match Types?

Sometimes when people search for something, there can be different interpretations of what exactly it is they are looking for. In order to help Google Ads know when best to display your ad, they give you control over how your keywords match up to the terms people are searching for on Google using Keyword Match Types.

In short, Keyword Match Types are display restrictions set on your keyword choices within your Google Ads campaign. These restrictions limit which search terms trigger your ads, helping you determine how narrow or broad a search query will match to a keyword in your Google Ad.

The purpose of Google’s Match Types is to help prevent your ad from displaying for searches that are similar, but not actually relevant for anything related to your keyword. Eliminating these irrelevant matches will help keep the budget under control while focusing your ad spend on more relevant audiences, increasing your ROI.

4 Keyword Match Types

There are currently four keyword match types in Google Ads, which one you choose will depend on your ad campaign goals, competitors, the current market and the type of product or service you are offering.

  1. Broad Match. This is Google’s default setting. It is the least restrictive giving you no control over what triggers your ad (other than your choice of keywords). Your ad may display on a wide range of searches including misspellings of your keywords, synonyms, and all kinds of related search terms. There is a high risk of overpaying for ads that are displayed on irrelevant search topics.
  2. Broad Match Modifier. Providing a little more control, the modified broad match allows you to specify certain keywords that must be included in the search terms for your ad to be displayed. By adding the modifier ‘+’ to the keywords the ad will display for any search terms (or close variations of) containing those words in any order.
  3. Phrase Match. The phrase match type is essentially about sticking to search queries that contain the particular keywords in the order given. This type of match can be useful in narrowing the playing field quite significantly and in doing so provide higher quality leads. Using quotation marks “?” the phrase match is particularly useful when the order of the keywords alters their meaning.
  4. Exact Match. Offering you the most control, choosing the exact match means your ad will only show to people who are searching for your exact keyword (or a close variant). The exact match parameters, indicated by the “[ ]”, will give you the highest quality hits (an increased chance of conversion) but the lowest reach. However, in most cases, the reduced reach isn’t a bad thing as the fact that the chances of conversion are higher means that even low traffic can boost sales.

What Is A Negative Match?

Used in conjunction with the four main types, negative matches prevent your ad from displaying for specific keywords that you determine are not helpful to your campaign. For example, if your keyword was “SEO Christchurch” and you noticed a number of people clicking on your ads when then searched for “SEO Christchurch, England” then you might include the word “England” as a negative match.

Adding negative keyword matches reduces the number of less relevant clicks improving the click-through rate and other analytics on your ad campaigns.

5 Tips To Improve Your Google Ads

After discussing the match types and what they can do for your Google Ads campaign we have put together our top 5 tips for getting the best out of your Google Ads.  

  1. Don’t Forget Your Brand Is A Keyword. This is worth considering when people are searching for you online, especially if you don’t have a strong SEO or Google My Business presence. If you search your brand name, see what comes up. Typically the more generic the words are you in your name, then the more important this is. For example, a name like “A1 Auckland Builders” will be more competitive than a more unique name like “Kaipara Stellar Builders”.
  2. Make Several Variations Of Your Ad. Google Ads is a great way to test out various versions of your keywording, Calls To Action, location specifics and other factors to figure out which ones perform better. Always run at least two ads within each of your ad groups.
  3. Keep An Eye On The Search Terms. Regularly taking a look at the Search Terms Report is a great way to make sure your keywords are aligned with what people are actually searching for. Find the report under ‘Keywords’ and then ‘Search Terms’. This report is also a good way to pick up on negative matches.
  4. Ad’s Must Match Landing Pages. Creating a great ad that sends people to your website but doesn’t deliver on its promise is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Your landing pages must match the ad – nobody wants to click through only to discover the page doesn’t answer their query. This is a waste of your PPC and their time.
  5. Think Local. Unless your brand is already well established within the global community, its best to stick with New Zealand specific location targeting in your ad campaign. Err on the side of certainty for now – you can always expand later.

It’s important to always think of your Google Ads campaigns as dynamic. You should constantly be monitoring and using the results coming to refine your keyword list, match type selections and ad variations to improve as you go. Need help with setting up your Google Ads? Or need someone to optimise the conversion results of your Google Ads? Talk to the professionals at Avatar today.

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