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The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads

Published on

September 9, 2021

"6 Min Read"

When bidding on keywords for your Google Ads campaign, it’s important to select a keyword match type to let Google understand how you want your keywords to match people’s search queries. 

In this guide we will explore the 5 match types, how they differ and which match type to choose.

What are the keyword match types? 

There are in total of 5 keyword match types, which are broad match, broad match modified, phrase match, exact match and negative match.

An overview of the keyword match types

Broad Match:

This is the default match type on Google Ads and gets the most clicks and impressions. It’s goal is to reach the widest possible audience, so ads may show up even when your audience is searching for a not so relevant item. 

Search items that are either synonyms, variants, different words and/or phrases could all be triggers for your ads. For instance, if your keywords are London, marketing and freelancers, your ads can possibly show up when people type in “marketing jobs in London” or “good marketing agencies in London.”

The problem with broad matches is that people could be clicking your ads even if they’re looking for other topics. Your cost could round up fast while the conversation rate could be low. However, still people use broad match type to gather keyword data and discover new keywords throughout their campaigns. 

Broad Match Modified:

By using the ‘+’ parameter, you are locking in your keywords. This means that whenever your ads show up, the search query has to have those specific keywords in the phrase or sentence. For example, if your keywords are London, marketing and freelancers for your own marketing freelancing business, your ads will possibly show up when people type in “best london marketing freelancer” or “cheap freelancer in london good at marketing.” 

Phrase Match:

When adopting Phrase Match, you tend to have more control with your keywords. By putting your keywords in quotation marks, Google shows ads only for searches containing those exact keywords, along with additional words before or after the keywords. 

For example, if your keywords are London Marketing freelancer, Your ads could possibly show up when someone searches for cheap “London marketing freelancer,” “London marketing freelancer jobs” or “London marketing freelancer near me.”


Exact Match:

When the keywords are inside brackets, they would only show when search queries are exactly those keywords. However, there are some exceptions as Google Ads has made some changes over time which include misspelling, singular or plural forms, abbreviations, synonyms and same search intents.

Negative Match:

When you add “-” in front of your keywords, you are preventing these keywords from showing up when the search queries involve them. 

Negative keywords can either be broad, phrase or exact:

Types of negative keyword match types

Negative Keyword Match Type

It’s important to note that negative keywords are just as important as all other keyword matches, so do watch out for which keywords you don’t decide on using. Traktion recommends the following tools for negative keyword navigation:

In conclusion

Given Google Ads’ reach and authority, we hope this information helps you navigate through the complexity of Google Ads, providing you with a better chance to succeed in launching a Google Ads campaign.

If you'd like a digital marketing specialist to help run, execute and plan for your Google Ads strategy, Traktion.ai is here to help with our exclusive network of pre-vetted digital marketing experts. Find your marketer here.

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