A Quick Guide to Keywords Match Types

Keywords are core elements of online marketing campaigns, so you must keep an eye on them. The keywords match types offered by Google help ensure your money is wisely spent on Google Ad campaigns.

It also ensures that you aren’t wasting it by attracting unqualified visitors that are unlikely to convert. Continue reading to learn more about the types of keyword matches and the traffic they generate for more sales.

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Keywords Match Types for Google Ads

Most individuals are unaware that the keyword match types you choose to have will impact the outcomes you get. There are four main match types for Google Ads keywords.

You need to know each type in detail to decide which ones you want to add to your campaign. You must thoroughly understand each type to choose the appropriate types to include in your ad campaign.

The four main keywords match types are as below:

1. Broad Match

In broad keyword matches, your ads appear in search results, including keywords related to their meaning but do not necessarily contain the exact terms. This is the default type for Google Ads and works best with smart bidding. The syntax is to write out your keyword simply.

For example, if your keyword is women’s bags, your ad may appear when people search for terms like “ladies bags” and “bags for women.”

A broad keyword match allows you to reach a wide audience. But your visitors will be less focused because the terms they search for are related to your keyword. Google will also consider a user’s search activity, the landing page content, and other keywords in your ads to ensure traffic is related.

2. Phrase Match

A phrase match displays your ads in searches that have the same meaning as your keyword or more specific variations of your keyword. Your keyword can have words added before or after it, but not in the middle. The proper syntax is to enclose your target word in quotation marks.

Suppose your phrase match keyword is “women’s bags.” Then you might appear in searches for phrases like “buy women’s bag,” “red women’s bag,” and “Women’s bag sale.”

With phrase match, your ads are placed in front of a smaller audience. But they are only shown in searches that mention what your ad is for, so audiences are more targeted.

3. Exact Match

Exact matches are opposite to broad matches, where your advertising only appears in searches for the same meaning or intent as your keyword. This could be anything from accents, misspellings, abbreviations, and singular or plural forms.

This type of content will get more focused visitors to your site, but you will have less reach. The syntax of the exact match type is to enclose your keyword in square brackets like [keyword].

If your keyword is [women’s bags], the ad will show results for only bags for women.

4. Negative Match

Negative keywords are used to stir your ad away from particular queries so that you can focus on targeting the right audience. Your ads will only appear for related terms, not the exact term you entered.

For example, if your keyword is women’s hats, your ad would show in searches for red travel hats, women’s hats, or hats women. However, it wouldn’t show for red women’s hats.


While creating ads for the Google Ads platform, you must know what keyword match types you have access to. You need to learn more about which one will work best for your needs.

Keyword match types can vary depending on what type of campaign you’re running and the goal you want to achieve with them. In general, Google Ads offers four match types: broad, phrase, exact, and negative, as explained in this post.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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