When using keywords in paid search, you can enter keywords in multiple formats to determine exactly how keywords will trigger advertisements. Four formats that can change how you implement keywords are broad match, phrase match, exact match and negative match. We’ll cover negative match next week.
1. Broad match keywords
Not only will the search engine search for the keyword(s) you’re using but also similar phrases and relevant variations. Broad match will include misspellings, plurals and synonyms.
Pros: You can drive significantly more traffic to your ads. You spend less time coming up with long-tail keywords.
Cons: Your traffic is less targeted and less likely to convert. Your keyword may not be strongly correlated to your ad or landing page, and that can hurt your Google Quality Score.
Next week we’ll talk about how you can use negative keywords to ensure your keywords are more targeted.
2. “Phrase match” keywords
Search engines only trigger ads when keywords in your phrase are matched. To create phrase match keywords, surround your keyword phrases in quotes.
Pros: Phrase match is more targeted than broad match, and more flexible than exact match.
Cons: It won’t drive the traffic that broad match does, but won’t be as targeted as exact. It’s a nice in-between way to use keywords.
3. [Exact match] keywords
Search engines only trigger ads when the exact phrase is matched. To create exact match keywords, surround your keyword phrases in brackets.
Pros: Extremely targeted traffic that is more likely to convert.
Cons: Will drive less traffic. To compensate, you’ll need a very comprehensive list of keywords.
Broad Match vs Phrase Match vs Exact Match
We’ve put together a table to help you understand when an exact match type triggers an ad.
But what happens with the last row when a search term triggers broad match, phrase match and exact match? Which match takes precedence?
Exact match overrides phrase match and broad match. Phrase match overrides broad match.
Exact match > Phrase Match > Broad Match