Jump to the: [content for this page][navigation menu.]

PPC tips and advice

Keyword Matching in Google Adwords

The use of Keyword Matching in Google Adwords is an important concept for advertisers to understand for fine-tuning a keyword list so that targeting and bid management can be improved. Without it, much of a budget may be wasted by casting the advertising net too widely or too narrowly.

There are three types of keyword matching available to AdWords advertisers: broad, phrase and exact matching. Broad matching is the default setting for all keywords included in an AdGroup list of search terms, unless otherwise specified by the advertiser. With this type of match, the sponsored link advert will appear when a searcher types in the targeted keywords anywhere within their search query. With a phrase match, the advert will appear if the searcher types in the keyword phrase in the same order, even if they include additional words before or after it. With an exact match, the searcher must enter the same word or phrase appearing in the keyword list, with no additional words before or after it.

Therefore by using exact matches in an AdWords campaign helps to reduce the potential number of advert displays generated by common words and phrases because they cause the advert to be displayed less often than through a broad or phrase match. For example, the use of a broad match for the term 'jump start' (used to sell vehicle jump leads), would cause the advert to appear each time someone queries anything with 'jump' and 'start' in their search query, which could have no relevance to what's being advertised. Searchers would see the advert, but not click on it, thus reducing the clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword, which would also reduce the Quality Score and increase the potential cost per click. So, by enclosing [jump start] in square brackets as an exact match, the advert would only appear if both words are used in the correct order and nothing else was included in the query, thus improving the relevancy of the ad to the searcher and also the chance of achieving a click from a prospective customer.

Phrase matching, by using quotation marks around a search phrase of 2 or more words, would cause the advert to appear only when "jump start" was queried in that order, with other words either before or after it. Therefore 'jump start my car', or 'how to jump start', would lead to a relevant display of the advert that searchers are more likely to click upon, especially with a fairly specific phrase such as this. It is a good balance to achieve between the number of times an advert is displayed and its relevancy to the search query.

Broad matching is the least targeted method of search term selection and can pull the CTR percentage down quite dramatically if not used carefully with common or general words. If the term 'jump start' is used in the keyword list with no brackets or commas surrounding the phrase, then the advert would appear every time the words 'jump' and 'start' appears in any length of search query and in any order. Thus the advertising would be targeting a much wider audience, but with a lower chance of the advert being clicked upon, as the search queries may have nothing to do with starting a car.

Therefore by fine-tuning a keyword list with these types of matching, it helps to improve the targeting of the PPC adverts to particular types of searches and also helps to provide more information on how searchers may be using the search terms in a query. It also allows more flexible bid management around a search phrase to target these different uses and to try to focus on the right intent of the searcher, thereby making substantial cost savings possible and a more effective, targeted campaign.

This article was first published in the May 2009 edition of our monthly newsletter.

If you'd like to know more about how keyword matching can be used in your Google AdWords campaign, please contact us now for advice and recommendations. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.