Adwords keyword match types

All You Need To Know About AdWords Keyword Match Types

Are you creating a Google AdWords campaign and not sure what keyword match types to use? In this article, I explain the four different types of AdWords keyword match types and how they can be used correctly to optimise your campaigns.

What Are Keyword Match Types?

Keyword match types are parameters that can be set on your keywords to determine whether your ads appear in the search results on Google.

There are four different types to choose from Broad match, Modified Broad match, Phrase match and Exact match. Let’s go into more detail about each and the best way to use them.

Broad Match Type

This is the default setting that Google sets your keywords to, unless you amend this. As the name suggests, this match type will reach the broadest audience. Google will match search results with your ad whenever the query includes ANY of your keywords in any order. For example, if you are a Architect and use the key phrase ‘Green Architect’, any searches made using either of these words may trigger your ad so you could appear for Fried Green Tomatoes!  Or even ‘Pictures Of Architect Wearing Green Wellies’. It will also include misspelling and synonyms. For example, ‘Historical Architecture’ or ‘Rural Builder’.

As you can see, leaving your keywords on the default Broad Match type can trigger your ads for a whole host of irrelevant search results. But you’re thinking “that’s okay because I only pay if they click right?” Well believe it or not, people don’t always pay much attention to the ad text and you find yourself receiving clicks to your website that will never turn into business and use up your budget very quickly. With this in mind, I highly recommend you do NOT leave any of your keywords on the Broad Match type.

adwords keyword match types

Modified Broad Match Type

The Modified Broad Match type is a very popular to use on new campaigns. It is identified by a plus (+) in front of each keyword and give you a similar reach as the Broad Match type but with a safety net!

Google will only show your ads when your keywords (or close variations but not synonyms) are used. However, this can be in any order. For example, if your keyword is ‘RIBA Architects’ your ad can be triggered if someone searches ‘Green Architect RIBA’. Additional words can be added to the search at the beginning or end of the query but each of your keywords, or close variant, must be included.

This match type can be used very effectively to find other popular search terms used that your initial keyword research may have missed.

adwords keyword match types

Phrase Match Type

Phrase Match is another popular keyword match type used and is identified with the quote marks (“ “) at either end of the keyword or key phrase. It is more restrictive than the Modified Broad Match type as the search query must include your keywords (or close variants) in the search bar, but it can also include other words at the beginning or end of the query. For example, your keyword or keyphrase ‘Green Architect Southampton’ will trigger your ad if someone searches ‘Best Green Architects Southampton Hampshire’ but will not show if someone searches ‘Southampton Green Architects’ as the words appear in a different order.

adwords keyword match types

Exact Match Type

Identified by the square brackets symbols ([ ]), as the name suggests, these keywords will only trigger your ads if your exact words are used, in order, with no additional words in the query. Well, that’s how it used to be! Google soon realised that advertisers were missing out on many potential clicks and amended this to include close variants, singular and plural forms and abbreviations.

Since then they have adapted the close variants rule further by allowing the words to be placed in any order. In addition, Google also allows for additional function words to be included in the search or removed from the keyword/ keyphrase without affecting the results. For example, ‘in’, ‘from’, ‘to’, ‘for’ and many others.

Then Google went a step further in 2018, allowing for close variance that share the same meaning to be used. As a result, exact match types have become far more affective.

One thing you have to love about Google is that it is constantly evolving. Something that keeps us on our toes as AdWords managers.

adwords keyword match types

So there you have it, all you need to know about AdWords keyword match types. What have you learned from this article? We would love to hear your comments below.


Are you still struggling to get the best return on investment on your campaigns? If so, why not let us take a look and give you a FREE performance check with a report of recommendations to get more for your money?

AdWords Performance check


If you are ready to jump straight in, then we have a great offer for you too!

We are happy to announce that we have room for 3 new AdWords clients. We understand that this can be a big chunk out of your marketing budget, so to help with this, we are offering £75 off your first month’s management fee with Marketing with Ethics to help ease the pocket. This is not to be confused with the national offer of £75 off your ad spend with Google, that can be claimed in addition to this if you have never tried AdWords before, giving you a great boost.

AdWords Gift Voucher 2018


So, if you think AdWords may be the way forward for your business, book a chat with me today and we can see if we are a good match. Just click on my diary link below and find a good time for you, adding WINTER18 in the promotion code box and we can have a chat.

Hurry though, we have limited spaces and the offer runs out on 1th December 2018!

book a call




If you have found this article helpful, please share and tweet …..after all caring is sharing.

This is Suzii, signing out for now. Have a great day everyone!

Posted in Google AdWords.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *