About phrase match

With phrase match, you can show your ad to customers who are searching for your exact keyword and close variants of your exact keyword, with additional words before or after. Phrase match is more targeted than the default broad match, but more flexible than exact match. It gives you more control over how closely the keyword must match someone's search term so your ad can appear.

Negative phrase match keywords behave differently from their positive counterparts, and don’t include close variations. Learn more About negative match keywords.

How phrase match works

With phrase match, your ad can appear when people search for your phrase and close variations of that phrase, even if they include one or more words before or after it. Close variants include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations, accents, implied terms, synonyms and paraphrases, and variants of your keyword terms that have the same meaning. Word order is important with phrase match, meaning that your ad won’t appear if someone enters an additional unrelated word in the middle of your keyword. Words in the keyword phrase can be reordered as long as the meaning of the phrase is maintained.

Phrase match is more flexible than exact match, but is more targeted than the default broad match option. With phrase match, you can reach more customers, while still showing your ads to customers who are most likely searching for your product or service.


Phrase match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won't show on searches for:
"tennis shoes" shoes for tennis
buy tennis shoes on sale
red tenis shoes
comfortable tennis sneakers
tennis rackets and shoes
tennis players that wear red shoes





To determine your Quality Score and first page bid estimate in Google Ads accounts, Google uses your exact keyword—not close variants.

How phrase match can help you

You can set any or all of your search-targeted keywords to phrase match to help you do the following:

  • Create ads with the same keywords your customers search on: You can view the search terms your customers were using when they clicked your ad. Then add the words and phrases you find to your keyword list, and use exact phrases in your new ads to reach customers who are more likely to be interested in your product or service.
  • Increase your clickthrough rate (CTR): Phrase match increases the likelihood of a click because your ad shows only when it matches the searcher's phrase or close variations of that phrase. It also helps decrease unwanted impressions for search terms that don't match your phrase.

When other match types might be more helpful

  • Exact match is a better option if you know your customers well and want your ad to trigger with the exact words they search for.
  • Broad match may be a better option if you are trying to reach a wider audience than what phrase match can provide.
We suggest using a combination of two or more keyword match types to run an effective ad campaign. If you use broad and phrase match, for example, you'll reach a broader audience while also controlling who can see your ad.
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