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What are Keywords Match Types?

Keyword match types are parameters that can be set on your keywords to control which searches trigger your ads to appear. There are 5 different keyword match types in AdWords: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match, Exact Match and Negative match.

These are the five main keyword match types:

  1. Broad match (max reach, min relevance)
  2. Modified Broad match (slightly lower reach, greater relevance)
  3. Phrase match (medium reach, medium relevance)
  4. Exact match (min reach, max relevance)
  5. Negative match (usually used to increase the relevance of the website visitors)

1. Broad match

Broad match keywords are the ones that enable you to reach the widest audience possible, letting you drive a larger volume of traffic to your website.

Broad match is the default match type used by Google Ads. If you add keywords just as they are (without special symbols such as [] and +), you need to be ready for Google to show your ads for a much wider range of search queries. Broad match type keywords have the most drawbacks of the three options. hence, the traffic your website will receive won’t be refined; most visitors will be random individuals who stumbled across your ad; moreover, some of the keywords your ads will be shown for can be totally irrelevant to the theme or topic of your website or blog.

Broad match keyword: women’s hats

Matching searches:

  • buy ladies hats
  • women’s clothing
  • women’s scarves
  • winter headwear for women

2. Modified broad match

This match type allows you to gain more control over your search appearance and increase the relevancy of the traffic you attract with PPC ads. This is how modified broad match keywords look:

Modified Broad match keyword: +women’s +hats

Matching searches:

  • women’s scarves and hats
  • winter hats for women
  • hats for stylish ladies

If you have a raw keyword list, you’d like to quickly change the match type for, you can do it with the SEMrush PPC Keyword tool.

3. Phrase match

Phrase match keywords lie somewhere in between: they are more focused than broad match keywords but less so than exact ones. This does provide you with greater flexibility in terms of getting visitors to your website.

In phrase match keywords, additional words can be added either before or after, but not in the middle of the key phrase.

Phrase match keyword: “women’s hats”

Matching searches:

  • blue women’s hats
  • buy hats for women
  • ladies’ hats on sale.

4. Exact match:

Exact match keywords are the diametric opposite of broad keywords. As the name clearly states, these keywords are based on exact search queries and terms, down (or almost) to the last detail. The search query has to match the keyword exactly for the search engine to trigger your ad to show up. This makes this the most difficult of all types of keyword matches to conquer. However, the traffic you generate through exact match keywords is curated and easier to convert for you.

Exact match keyword: [women’s hats]

Matching searches:

  • women’s hats
  • ladies’ hats
  • hats for women
  • hats women

5. Negative match

Let’s suppose you sell interior paints. You will advertise your products for people looking for paints, finishes, enamels, water-based and oil-based paints, etc. But you don’t want your ads to show up for art paints – gouache, water colour, tempera and so on.

Negative match keywords will solve this problem. With this keyword type, you can exclude your ads to show up for certain search terms.

Tip: when adding negatives, you can use all the above-mentioned match types to determine how strict these restrictions should actually be. See this Google article for more detail.


Raja Hamza Rasheed

Raja Hamza Rasheed
CEO @ eCom Managers
Show Host @ eCom Stories With Raja
Amazon Expert and Author

Raja is an Extremely Dynamic Marketer & Consumer Behavior Analyst. He holds a Degree of Consumer Behavior & Marketing from the University of Punjab Pakistan. Along With His Own Amazon Selling Business, he is Also a Consultant & Trainer to the Many Amazon Sellers & Brands. In his Career, Raja Worked in Multiple Organization at Managerial & Leadership Roles. He Helps More Than 140 Amazon Sellers Through His Result Driven Strategies and Tactics.

His Main Area of Expertise Includes Product Hunting, Launching, Ranking, Branding, Marketing, Advertising & Merchandising. Raja Have working Experience on Almost all the Amazon Market Places But Mainly Includes USA, UK, Canada, Germany and India

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