Keyword Match: An Introduction to Keyword Match Types

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Keyword Match Type Diagram


The following article gets slightly more technical than our usual articles.  If you want to find out more about how to utilise keyword match types to increase your chances of being found online, but can’t quite get your head around what we’ve written here, feel free to get in touch with our in-house SEO experts to discuss further. 

As a consumer, we often turn to search engines to find something online. To quickly find what we are looking for, we will typically type the keywords of the service or product to pinpoint the most relevant results. For example, if you're looking for a long red summer dress, 'red summer dress' would probably be the words that you type into a search engine such as Google. Following this search, you would then expect variations of red summer dresses to appear – these results will each have specified keyword matches triggered by your search to make sure they are relevant.

So, when it comes to selling online, it is important to make sure that your product appears when your consumers are using search engines to browse. Capturing consumer interest and making sure that your customers can find you online is key, and this all comes down to Keyword Matching. Part of an effective PPC strategy is to make sure that your ad will appear when the right keywords are searched.

There are a variety of keyword match type options, so it is important to identify which keyword matches would work best for your business. You can control how restrictive you would like your keyword match types to be, as the match type you choose will control when your advert will be triggered.

Broad Match

  • A broad match will show your advert when a keyword appears anywhere within the search query. Your advert will be shown on searches based on keywords and close variations such as synonyms and misspellings.
  • For campaigns to be the most effective, we would advise steering clear of broad match keywords, as they can bring your ad up for irrelevant search terms. For example, if your broad match keywords were 'red silk summer dress' and someone searched 'best places to go in summer', or 'silk bedsheets' your advert for the red silk summer dress would appear. To the user, this ad is completely irrelevant. The problem that arises here is that a user will click onto your site, not find what they are looking for and leave, which raises a red flag to Google that your site may not be relevant and thus harm your future search engine positioning. 


Broad Match Modifier

  • A broad match modifier is indicated with a [+] before each individual keyword. Any search query that contains the keywords, regardless of the order, will trigger your advert.
  • For example, if your keywords are +red +dress, your advert will show for 'summer red dress' or 'dress in scarlet red', but not 'blue dress' or 'red jumper' as the latter does not contain both specified keywords.
  • BENEFIT: Broach match modifier is most useful when you have a selection of words which you need to include in a search term for your ad to be relevant.


Phrase Match

  • A phrase match is indicated with quotation marks. To trigger a phrase match, keywords must appear in the search query in the same order – as specified by you.
  • For example, if your keyword is ''red dress'', your ad will appear for 'summer red dress' or 'red dress for the winter' but not 'summer dress in red', as the queries must match the exact phrase.
  • BENEFIT: A phrase match is more targeted, and much more specific to set search terms.


Exact Match

  • An exact match is indicated with square brackets. The exact match will only allow your ad to show when the search query exactly matches the keywords you have selected.
  • For example, if your keyword is [red dress], then your advert will only be shown for 'red dress', and will not appear for 'dress in red' or 'tartan red dress'. 
  • BENEFIT: An exact match is the most restrictive of the keyword match types, and is very effective at narrowing an ad's potential audience which is perfect for companies selling highly specialised products.


Get in touch for more information, or take a look at the tailored SEO services and ongoing retainers that we offer. We look forward to finding your products online! 

post by Alice
Client Portal.