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AdWords Match Types: Understanding Keywords in Google AdWords

Keywords drive AdWords! Customers search by keywords, so you must have a very defined and strategic sense of your keywords. Behind the scenes, however, Google matches your ads with user search queries based on 'match types' in AdWords. Match types include exact, phrase, broad, and broad match with modifier. Don't miss the negative keyword match types as well. The AdWords Gotcha #1 is to not understand how to correctly use match types. Let's get started!

Links Used in 'AdWords Match Types: Understanding Keywords in Google AdWords'

    Table Explaining Match Types with Examples:

    KEYWORD: POSSIBLE MATCHES:
    [Cat Boarding] Cat Boarding
    Those two words and nothing else!
    "Cat Boarding" Cat boarding in San Francisco
    SF Cat Boarding
    Best Cat Boarding near my house
    The phrase 'cat boarding' plus words before or after
    +Cat +Boarding Cat boarding in San Francisco
    SF Cat Boarding
    Best Cat Boarding near my house
    board my cat in the city
    where can I board a cat?
    boarding of cats
    board a bunch of cats in san francisco
    The words 'cat' and 'boarding' plus words before, in the middle, or after plus stemming (cats), board vs. boarding. NO SUBSTITUTIONS! Google will NOT substitute 'pet' for 'cat,' for example!
    Cat Boarding Cat boarding in San Francisco
    SF Cat Boarding
    Best Cat Boarding near my house
    board my cat in the city
    where can I board a cat?
    boarding of cats
    board a bunch of cats in san francisco
    pet boarding
    pets to be boarded
    dog boarding
    gerbil boarding
    cat vets
    cat shelters and cat vets
    iguana vetrinarians
    The words 'cat' and 'boarding' plus MANY possible similar words... as Google 'thinks for you,' and in some cases may do very poor matching! Watch out!
    -cheap cheap Cat boarding in San Francisco (do not show ad)
    SF Cat Boarding that's cheap (do not show ad)
    Anytime the seacher adds the word 'cheap,' Google will not show you ad.

  • Examples from a real campaign - problems with broad match:
    • Keyword set to: negotiation training for an business executive course in negotiation training. Google ran ad for these keywords:
      • debt settlement training
      • union bargaining training
      • contract negotiation seminar
      • hostage negotiation training
      • negotiation mock up class

    • If you are running a campaign / group with keywords set to broad match (no quotes, no brackets, and no +'s), go to group > keywords tab > details > search terms > all to see what are the actual keywords Google is running your ad for!
    • screenshot

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    How did this free AdWords guide come about? Small business marketers asked us, again and again, for an easy-to-use beginners guide to Google AdWords. Many of them were looking not just for the best AdWords tutorial for a given year (say, AdWords Tutorial 2014, for example), but were looking for a free guide to Google AdWords not necessarily in eBook format but one that was an AdWords tutorial in video format as well. A guide to Google pay-per-click advertising that started at the beginning, at the basics. Moreover, we found that many Google AdWords beginners were confounded with the AdWords gotchas, and were wasting a lot of money needlessly on AdWords. So we focused our video AdWords guide on the main gotchas, to avoid wasting money, and rather than produce an AdWords Tutorial PDF or an AdWords eBook (or a how to AdWords book), we produced an AdWords tutorial in video format. Finally, we do have a list of the top AdWords books on Amazon if you are interested, among which our Free Google is consistently downloaded ebook on AdWords.