About keyword matching options

Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match ads with the terms people are searching for. The keyword match types dictate how closely the keyword needs to match with the user’s search query in order for the ad to be considered for the auction. So you could use broad match to serve your ad on a wider variety of user searches or you could use exact match to hone in on specific user searches.

Keyword Match Types

For the keyword ‘lawn mowing service’, we can match the following queries– 1. Broad match (loose matching)– Ads may show on searches that relate to your keyword such as “lawn aeration prices”. Notation for inputting keywords– lawn mowing services (without any brackets or inside quotations). 2. Phrase match (moderate matching)– Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword such as “lawn mowing service near me”, “hire company to mow lawn”, or “landscaping service to cut grass”. Notation for inputting keywords– “lawn mowing services” (keyword in quotations). 3. Exact match (tight matching)– Ads may show on searches that are the same meaning as your keyword such as, “lawn mowing service” or “grass cut service”. Notation for inputting keywords– [lawn mowing services] (keyword within square brackets).

Broad match

Ads may show on searches that are related to your keyword, which can include searches that don’t contain the keyword terms. This helps you attract more visitors to your website, spend less time building keyword lists, and focus your spending on keywords that work. Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned as if you don't specify another match type (exact match, phrase match, or a negative match type).

The syntax for broad match is to simply input the keyword. Below is an example of how broad match will work:

For a broad match keyword such as, low-carb diet plan, ads may show on search terms like “carb-free foods”, “low-carb diets”, “low calorie recipes”, “mediterranean diet books”, or “low-carbohydrate dietary program”.

To help deliver relevant matches, this match type may also take into account the following:

  • The user’s recent search activities
  • The content of the landing page
  • Other keywords in an ad group to better understand keyword intent

Broad match works well with Smart Bidding. The Smart Bidding system sets a bid for each individual auction of each query and bids up or down depending on how well the query is likely to perform. Learn more about how to grow your Smart Bidding campaigns with broad match

Tip

Adding very similar keywords, such as “red car” and “car red” isn’t recommended, as only one keyword would match both searches. However, doing so won’t affect your costs or performance in any way.

For example, the broad match keywords “red car” and “car red” will be recognized as duplicates and the one with the higher Ad Rank will be used. Even though all your similar keywords may be eligible to serve on the same search, you'll only have one bid in the ad auction. Learn more about similar keywords in a Google Ads account

Negative keyword match types behave differently than positive match types. Learn more about negative keyword match types

Phrase match

Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. The meaning of the keyword can be implied, and user searches can be a more specific form of the meaning. 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.

The syntax for phrase match is to put quotes around your keyword, such as “tennis shoes”. Below is an example of how phrase match will work:

For the phrase match keyword such as, “tennis shoes”, your ads may show on searches for “shoes for tennis”, “buy tennis shoes on sale”, “red tennis shoes”, or “comfortable tennis sneakers”. However, your ads won’t show on searches for “tennis rackets and training shoes”, or “can you wear running shoes for tennis”.

Note: Negative keyword match types behave differently than positive match types. Learn more about negative keyword match types
Exact match

Ads may show on searches that are the same meaning or same intent as the keyword. Of the three keyword matching options, exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad.

Exact match is designated with brackets, such as [red shoe]. Below is an example of how exact match will work:

For the exact match keyword such as, [shoes for men], your ads may show on searches for “shoes men”, “men shoes”, “men shoe”, or “shoes for a man”. However, your ads won’t show on searches for “mens tennis shoes”, or “shoes for boys”.

Negative keyword match types behave differently than positive match types. Learn more about negative keyword match types

Tip

Use Smart Bidding with all match types to automatically optimize for your performance objectives. Learn more about Smart Bidding

Negative keywords

You can use negative keywords to exclude your ads from showing on searches with that term. So if you’re a hat company that doesn’t sell baseball hats, you could add a negative keyword for baseball hats. Learn more about negative keywords

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