google adwords terminology

PPC Terminology Explained – Pt 1

PPC Terminology can be very confusing for new users of Google AdWords. All industries have their own terminology and internet marketing is no different so its no surprise that you feel daunted when considering Pay Per Click advertising. In this 2 part series I will guide you through the most common terms you may hear.

PPC – Pay Per Click

First and foremost this is what everyone is talking about. PPC or Pay Per Click as it is commonly referred to is paid online advertising and if you are not doing it yet, you should be. Over 60% of people click on the Google ads when they are looking to buy online. Each time someone carries out a search and clicks on one of the ads at the top of the results or on the right hand side, they are then sent to the company’s website page relevant to their search. This costs the advertiser money. How much money is determined by Google based on many different factors (I will explain the complexity of how it all works in a later edition – something to look forward to J)

Search Query

search query is anything that somebody types into a search engine. This can be anything from ‘blue jeans’ to ‘the OMG cat’. As an online advertiser your goal is to match what is typed in the search query with the relevant keywords in your Ad.



It may seem like I’m teaching you to suck eggs but when I first started to look at Pay Per Click advertising, I didn’t know what a keyword was. This is simply what the potential customer types into the Google search bar, when they want to spend money.  To be successful in PPC, it is important to match this as well as you possibly can with your adverts. You know how frustrating it can be if you are searching for something and adverts for products/services only very loosely linked appear. Imagine seeing an advert titled exactly what you have entered in the search. Well getting your Pay Per Click advertising right can be the difference between spending all your budget and getting great quality leads to your website. That’s why keywords/phrases are crucial to any campaign.

Match Types

Next are the four match types for your keywords which you can select when setting up your Pay Per Click campaign. Google will use these match types to decide if your ads are relevant:-
1)  Broad Match
When setting up your keywords, Google will automatically set them all to broad match keyword. Results for this kind of match will be displayed when something similar is searched. Google will then show an ad that has a broad match.

For example If you search ‘Men’s shoes’, results for ‘Boy’s shoes’, ‘shoes for men’ and ‘men’s boots’ will all show. But be careful, it could also display your ad for totally unrelated results like ‘Horse shoes’ causing wasted clicks and budget. Therefore, this is not a recommended match type to use.

2) Modified Broad Match
Modified broad match works in a similar way to a broad match, but gives a little more peace of mind that only relevant broad searches will appear because ALL keywords need to appear somewhere in the search although not necessarily in the order they have been added.  Google also allows for a spelling mistake or two (and believe me I have seen some weird spelling out there), so using modified broad match will still show results even though something may be spelt slightly wrong.

For example, if you are searching ‘Men’s shoes’ but spell it ‘Men’s shoos’, the results will still show. However, your ad will NOT show in search results ‘Horse shoes’ as the word men’s has not been used.

3) Exact Match
This does what it says on the tin. Exact match results will only show if the search matches the keyword exactly.  For example, if you had ‘blue jeans’ as your exact match keyword, ‘blue denim jeans’ or ‘jeans blue’ will not show.

This does what it says on the tin. Exact match results will only show if the search matches the keyword exactly. For example, if you had ‘blue jeans’ as your exact match keyword, ‘blue denim jeans’ or ‘jeans blue’ will not show. 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.

4) Phrase Match
Phrase matches are the inbetweeners (and I don’t mean a group of sex starved teenagers) as they don’t have as much flexibility as a modified broad match, but are also not as strict as an exact match. When using this match type, a search can bring back results with additional details as long as your keywords appear in the same order. For example, if you have ‘blue jeans’ as a phrase match, results for ‘blue denim jeans’ and ‘ladies blue jeans’ will show but ‘denim jeans’ and ‘jeans blue’ will not. The words in the original phrase match need to remain in the correct order,

Search Network

search network is where your ads will appear. It refers to search engines, which support your ads, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. This can also include shopping, maps and videos.

Search Partners

Search partners are websites in partnership with search engines so that they can display ads. For example, AOL is partnered with Google and will show ads in the Google search network.

Landing Pages

This is another term for the page your advert links to i.e. pages on your website. It is important to send a potential customer to the page relevant to their search and not automatically to the homepage as Google will assess the quality of your ad partly based on this. For example, if a search is carried out for ‘blue jeans’ you would not want buyers clicking on the ad and being sent to the standard intro page or one for shoes. Instead you want them going directly to your webpage displaying blue jeans so they can purchase them without having to trawl through the site looking for them. If they have to do this, they are likely to leave your website and buy elsewhere.

Quality Score

Google gives each ad a score out of 10. The better the score, the higher your ad will be positioned (along with other factors that will be covered in a later blog edition). This will also determine how much you will have to pay per click to be displayed. A score lower than 4/10 will cost you more than if the same keyword has a quality score of 8/10. This subject deserves a whole blog of its own – I bet you can’t wait for that one!

I've heard some funny explanations for AdWords jargon. What one's have you heard? Comment below.

Posted in Google AdWords.

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