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Google AdWords and Keyword Match Types; Introduction and Best Practices

6 November 2012 BY

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This is a guest post by Jeffrey Bleijendaal, Manager Search Engines and Display Marketing Ematters.

Keeping Google AdWords ROI positive is extremely important to Google, because having happy advertisers means more ad spend and thus revenue for Google. There are a number of features advertisers can use to keep their budget under control. You can think of ad scheduling, regional targeting and keyword match types. In this article we’ll have a closer look at this last feature; keyword match types.

The keyword match types offer advertisers the possibility to create huge, broad campaigns which drive a lot of impressions and clicks. On the other hand it also makes it possible to keep it small and narrow to only drive impressions and clicks for the most relevant searches. How broad or narrow the campaign eventually will be depends entirely on how the keyword match types are being used. This article will give you a close insight on how to build the desired campaign using these match types.

Google offers the following keyword match types:

  • Broad;
  • Broad with modifier;
  • Phrase;
  • Exact;
  • Negative.

The image below shows the broadness of each match type. The match type ‘negative’ is not included in this image. A negative keyword is a keyword the advertiser doesn’t want to be found on with the campaign or ad group the keyword is placed in.

* Image Source: http://www.webranking.com

* Image Source: http://www.webranking.com

Match type: broad

The match type “broad” is the match type that will drive the most impressions en clicks, but the relevancy is debatable. The image above shows the searches that will also match with the keyword formal shoes. For example: evening footwear. There’s some relevancy, but it’s simply not the same.

Match type: modified broad

The match type “modified broad” is de newest match type and makes the matching between advertising keyword and searched for keyword better. The relevancy of modified broad keywords is higher than that of the match type “broad”.

“Modified broad” keywords can be recognized by the + that’s being used. The + in front of a keyword means that, that particular word within the whole keyword has to be in de searched for keyword as well. The order the keywords are in is not important.

For example the advertising keyword: black +evening +shoes
Search keywords and triggering; green is YES and red is NO

  • Black evening footwear
  • Red evening shoes
  • Evening shoes black
  • Evening shoes red
  • Black shoes
  • Evening shoes

Match type: phrase

The match type “phrase” will only trigger ads when searched for keywords match the order they’re in. This means that (a part of) the searched for keyword exists of keywords that are in the exact order as the advertising keyword.

For example the advertising keyword: “black evening shoes”
Search keywords and triggering; green is YES and red is NO

  • Cheap black evening shoes
  • Cheap evening shoes black
  • Evening shoes black
  • Black evening shoes in Amsterdam

The match type “phrase” increases the relevancy of the impressions and clicks, but it also makes the advertiser loose impressions and clicks by making the campaign narrower.

Match type: exact

The match type “exact” will only trigger ads when the searched for keyword is exactly the same as the advertising keyword. This match type is extremely relevant, but also very narrow, which means the advertiser will lose impressions and clicks when only “exact” keywords are being used in the campaigns.

For example the advertising keyword: [black evening shoes]
Search keywords and triggering; green is YES and red is NO

  • Beautiful black evening shoes
  • Cheap black evening shoes
  • Black evening shoes

Match type: negative

The match type “negative” is a keyword (group) the advertiser doesn’t want to be found on. Using this match type makes sure irrelevant impressions and clicks don’t occur. The match type “negative” is possibly the most important match type of them all, because you have more and better control over the matching between searched for keyword(s) and the ads getting triggered or not.

Negative keywords can be used on an ad group and on a campaign level. Most of the time they’re being use on a campaign level for keywords the advertiser never wants to be found on. But there’s also a great best practice when you use negative keywords on an ad group level. The reason for that is that you can make sure that Google AdWords never triggers the wrong ad group. This can be explained the best way with an example.

  • Ad group “Red evening shoes”
    • Negative broad keyword: blue
    • Negative broad keyword: black
  • Ad group “Blue evening shoes”
    • Negative broad keyword: red
    • Negative broad keyword: black
  • Ad group “Black evening shoes”
    • Negative broad keyword: red
    • Negative broad keyword: blue
  • Ad group “Evening shoes”
    • Negative broad keyword: red
    • Negative broad keyword: blue
    • Negative broad keyword: black

This example shows how the negative broad keywords ‘tell’ Google which ad group needs to be triggered.

Negative keywords can be used in combination with other match types therefore advertisers can implement the following negative keyword options:

  • Negative broad: for example “red” (can be used in other colored ad groups)
  • Negative phrase: for example “evening shoes” (can be used in the “formal footwear” ad groups)
  • Negative exact: for example [evening shoes] (can be used in the “formal footwear” ad groups)

Match type and quality score

The keyword match types can be used to determine how relevant the keyword matching will be. We all know how important relevancy is within Google AdWords, because optimal relevancy between keyword, ad text and landing page means a bigger change to receive high quality scores.

Looking at all the examples given earlier there’s numerous ways the keyword match types can be used to let Google always trigger the most relevant keyword and ad text. For example the negative keyword examples ‘show’ Google which ad group needs to be triggered when the searched for keyword is “red evening shoes”. “Red” is set to negative in 3 of the 4 ad groups and therefore the right (4th) ad group will be triggered. The ad text in that particular group will contain “red evening shoes” with a link to a landing page with red evening shoes and therefore the match between keyword, ad text and landing page is outstanding. This should increase the change to receive a high quality score.

Using multiple match types

To get the most out of Google AdWords the advice is to use multiple match types at the same time. This way advertisers can make sure they don’t lose many impressions and clicks by making the campaign too narrow or waste a lot of money by making the campaign too broad.

My experience to get the best results is by using the match types “broad modified” and “exact” in combination with a lot of negative keywords on ad group and campaign level. This combination of match types creates a campaign that isn’t too broad (by not using the keyword match type “broad”) so not many impressions and clicks are lost. The match type “phrase” is for most of my clients the most expensive keyword match type. By using the match type “broad modified” most of the “phrase” searches will still trigger the campaign. This way the advertiser will save money and hardly loses impressions and clicks.

Final thoughts

Every campaign is different and therefore the advice is always to test the different match types and optimize the campaign based on the results. Make sure you understand the way the “negative” keyword match type works so you don’t block your campaign for relevant searches. When you do understand it you will notice that that particular match type can do great things for your campaign.

I’m looking forward to your best practices concerning the Google AdWords keyword match types so share your experience via the comments below.

Featured Image: SEO Keywords from Big Stock

AUTHORED BY:
h

This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.
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