Add keywords

Adding the right keywords helps you show your ads to the customers you want, when you want.

This article shows you how to add keywords to your ad groups for Search or Display/video campaigns. You may want to begin by learning more About keywords.

Choosing match types for Search campaign keywords

When you add a keyword to ad groups for search campaigns, you can choose the match type you want by entering the keyword in one of the following formats. 

  • For broad match, enter keywords with no formatting (for example, women’s hats)
  • For broad match modifier, enter keywords with a + before the modified terms (for example,  +women's +hats)
  • For phrase match, enter keywords in quotations (for example, "women's hats")
  • For exact match, enter keywords in brackets (for example, [women's hats])

Using symbols in keywords

You can use two symbols, ampersands (&) and accent marks (á), in your keywords. Keywords with these symbols are considered two different keywords, like sidewalk cafe and sidewalk café.

Here are some of the symbols that our system doesn't recognize:

  • Ignored symbols: You can add periods (.) or dashes (-) to your keywords, but these symbols will be ignored. That means the keywords Fifth Ave. and Fifth Ave, for example, are considered identical keywords.
  • Invalid symbols: You'll see an error message if you add keywords that contain certain symbols. Some of the symbols that can't be used in your keywords are: , ! @ % ^ * () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ |
  • Site and search operators: The "site:" operator will be removed from your keywords. That means if you add the keyword [ dark chocolate], it’ll be considered the same as [dark chocolate]. Search operators will also be ignored. For example, if you add the search operator "OR" to the keyword dark chocolate, like OR dark chocolate, the "OR" command will be ignored and your keyword will be just dark chocolate.

Instructions for Search and Display campaigns

The new Google Ads experience is now the exclusive way for most users to manage their accounts. Note, automatic targeting is only available in the new Google Ads experience.

The steps for adding keywords to your ad group vary depending on whether your campaign type is "Search or Display" or Shopping or Video. If you’re not sure what your campaign type is, you can find it by clicking All Campaigns and selecting the campaign type.

Add keywords to campaigns ("Search Network only" or "Search Network with Display Select")
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab. Keywords tab
  3. Click the + Keywords button at the top of your keywords table.
  4. Select which ad group you'd like to add your keyword to. Add keywords
  5. Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words).


    You might see a list of keyword ideas to the right of the keyword box. Click the add link next to any keyword you'd like to add to your ad group. You can get an instant estimate of how many people use each keyword you add by clicking the Estimate search traffic button below the text box.

  6. Click Save.
Visit AdWords


The first time you create an ad group, you'll be asked to set an ad group default bid. Unless you add a keyword specific bid from the keywords table, your ad group default bid will be used for your keywords.

Add keywords to campaigns targeting the Display Network only
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Display Network tab.
  3. Click + Targeting above the graph.
  4. Select which ad group you'd like to add your keyword to.
  5. Click the "Add targeting" dropdown menu and select "Display keywords." Add your keywords to the keyword box, one per line (your keywords can include multiple words) and click Add keywords. Or, type your keyword in the box and click Find related keywords to get keyword ideas. Then, click the double arrows next to each keyword you'd like to add.
  6. Click Close to save your changes.


Try using the Keyword Planner to get new keyword ideas and traffic estimates.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?
Previous New