The match types you choose for your paid keywords can have a huge impact on performance. If you read my post a few weeks ago, then you already know how AdWords match types work.  These are seven match type tips based on my experience working with accounts and teaching AdWords trainings.

  1. Use multiple match types in your account. One of the most common issues I see when reviewing an account is that only one match type is being utilized. Typically it’s broad match, but I’ve also seen accounts that are only phrase or only exact match. If you’re only using broad I guarantee you’re wasting money. If you’re only using phrase or exact match you’re likely limiting your reach too much and not uncovering new keywords.
  1. Have different match types of the same keyword. Each match type serves its own purpose, so I always have multiple match types of the same keyword. Broad and broad modified help with keyword research and you can increase your bid on phrase or exact matches because you know the searcher is looking for what you have to offer.
  1. You can’t combine match types. Although you can have different match types of the same keyword, you can’t combine match types together. For example, you can’t have the keyword +chicago “bike shops”.  Remember though, with modified broad match you don’t have to put a plus sign in front of each word.
  1. Capitalization doesn’t matter. You don’t need to have both ‘Chicago bike shop’ and ‘chicago bike shop’ in your account. They are the same keyword, even for exact matches without close variants.
  1. Close variants also include spacing and punctuation. If you choose to include close variants, spacing doesn’t matter. If you have the keyword [bike shops] it will match to the search term bikeshops. This also applied to punctuation. If you are bidding on “mikes bike shop” and someone types in mike’s bike shop, they will match.
  1. There is no difference between a single word BMM keyword and a single word phrase match keyword when close variants are included. This question comes up a lot in training. If you are bidding on the term +bikes and “bikes” while including close variants for phrase match, they behave in the same way. Both would match to any search term that contained the word bikes, or a close variant.
  1. Use broad match carefully. Keywords entered without additional symbols will default to broad and while they will get you the most traffic, they can also waste money on clicks that aren’t relevant to the service you provide. I use plain broad match sparingly in my accounts and tend to favor modified broad instead.

I reached out to others in the PPC community to ask their opinions on broad match and got many different responses from “one of the best keyword research tools in your arsenal” to “no good can come from straight broad match.” Whether or not you choose to use them, monitor their return closely. Once you start finding more irrelevant than relevant search terms matching to your broad keywords, that’s a good time to pause them.

These are my tips for keyword match types. If you have more  you’d like to share, please comment below!

  • I usually use this approach but the question here is after spending a time to test the keywords and indentifying the high performance keywords, shall we pause/remove the broad match (of performed bad) or just lower the bid? For quality lead generation campaigns, that may have better impacts while for traffic campaigns it just make it worse.

    • I tend to lower the bid if I’m in top spots, but if I’m already in position 5 or below I just pause underperforming keywords. I usually reach a point too where I’ve added all the relevant search terms triggered by BMM keywords into my account and now they’re returning more negatives and that’s when I decide to pause as well.

  • Here’s a tip I always recommend – if you’re running the same keyword in Exact and Broad/Modified Broad always negative exact match your keywords in the Broad ad group/campaign. That way you force the exact match of those keywords to properly fire in the Exact match group rather than the broad match group.

    • Great tip! Even though Google says they “try” and match to the most specific match type, it definitely doesn’t always work that way.