Keyword match types are a way for advertisers to determine how closely a search query must match your keyword.  With keyword match types you can create broad campaigns which drive a lot of impressions and clicks while still keeping campaigns narrow enough to only drive impressions and clicks for the most relevant searches. The more precise the match, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be.  However, the trade-off is often fewer impressions. The optimal relevancy between keyword, ad text and landing page means a bigger chance to receive high quality scores.


To use a particular keyword match type, add dedicated punctuation (which is discussed below) to your keyword to determine the way your keyword will match up.



Broad match is the default matching option in the search engines.Using this match type means that your ad may show up if a search term contains your keyword terms in any order, and possibly alongside other related terms. If you use this match type, you’ll get lots of impressions, but they might not all be relevant – which will drive down your Click-Through-Rate.


+Modified +Broad

Use the plus sign before the word to set the keyword to a broad modified match type. With this match type you can still generate lots of impressions while also narrowing down the irrelevance you get from broad match type.  This offers the exclusivity of Phrase Match (see below) without limiting the search query to the specific order in which the keywords were listed.



Use the parentheses to set the keyword to a phrase match type. With phrase match, your ad will show when someone searches for close variations of that exact keyword search query or with additional words before or after it. By using phrase match you reach more customers, while still getting more precise targeting.



Use the square brackets to set the keyword to an exact match type. With exact match, your ads will appear when someone searches for your exact keywords only, without any other terms in the search. The obvious downside of using the Exact Keyword Match type is that you are limiting the amount of impressions your ads will get. The upside, when you get a click, is that there is a good chance your product or service is exactly what the person searching is looking for. You’ll get a better cost and conversion rate, but it could limit your ad campaign due to the smaller amount of impressions you will end up receiving.



Negative keywords need to be added in the negative keyword section of AdWords. Negative keywords are not exactly a match type, but I’m including them in the article anyway because they are a useful way to filter out irrelevant traffic and thus prevent unwanted clicks. You can specify the match type for negative terms as well, so keep in mind that a negative keyword that is too broad will block the negative keyword in any form in the search query. You can set the negative keywords at the campaign level or at the Ad Group level, so make sure you’re setting the negative keywords at the right level.


Ranging from broad to narrow, here is an illustration of the different match types: