Google AdWords: What Are Match Types?

4th April 2018 | | Blog, Marketing, Pay Per Click

Using Google AdWord to run advertising campaigns can be an effective and quick way to gain new patients for your dental practice. Also known as PPC, or Pay-Per-Click advertising, Google ads allow dental practices to gain exposure for key terms by paying for adverts to appear within the Google search results. Google ads have many benefits and can be highly targeted to reach a precise audience.

One method of targeting ads is the use of keyword match types. This method of keyword targeting allows advertisers to control who sees adverts based on the terms they are searching. The match type of a keyword determines how relevant a search term must be for the advert to display.

There are 4 match types, with varying levels of reach and control:

1. Broad Match

Create a broad match keyword by simply typing the word, for example, Dentist Poole

Broad match keywords gain a very wide reach for your adverts. However, they are limited in the control and relevance they provide. This kind of keyword will trigger matches with terms Google has deemed as relevant.

For example, the broad match keyword of Dentist Poole could allow your advert to show for terms such as orthodontist Poole, dentist near Bournemouth, emergency dental Poole, etc.

Broad match terms show advertisers what the audience in your area is searching for, so can be a useful tool, especially when launching a new campaign. However, broad match can deplete your budget by showing adverts to an untargeted audience, so it is important to monitor this and respond accordingly.

2. Broad Match Modified

Create a broad match modified keyword by adding + symbols before the word, for example, +Dentist +Poole

Broad match modifier will allow the advert to be shown when the term includes the broad match modified keywords, or close variants, somewhere in the text. This means that advert is targeted to a particular key term you want to appear for, but allows some flexibility.

For example, if you include the broad match modified keyword of +Dentist +Poole, your advert would appear for terms such as Dentist Poole, Cosmetic Dentist Poole, Dentist near Poole, Best Dentist Poole etc.

Broad match modified provides a more controlled way of targeting your adverts than Broad Match, but doesn’t exclude longer terms that could be valuable.

3. Phrase Match

Create a phrase match keyword by adding quote marks around your term. For example, “Dentist Poole”

Phrase match is a more targeted type of keyword than broad match and broad match modified, restricting the amount of traffic your advert will be shown to. With phrase match, your keyword has to be in the term in the exact order you’ve inputted it, however, it does allow other words before or after it.

For example, the phase match keyword of “Dentist Poole” will match with terms such as Dentist Poole, Private Dentist Poole, Dentist Poole Quay ect.

This type of match allows advertisers to target specific phrases they know are relevant to their offering but gives some flexibility to reach a wider audience.

4. Exact Match Type

Create an exact match keyword by including brackets around the term. For example, [Dentist Poole]

Exact Match is the most targeted type of keyword match type, giving advertisers the most amount of control. By adding exact match terms, your advert will only match when exactly your keyword has been searched. Google also includes misspellings, singular and plural forms, phrases in slightly different orders, accents and abbreviations.

For example, the exact match keyword of [Dentist Poole] will match with Dentist Poole, Poole Dentist, Poole Dentists etc.

While the other types of keyword match are likely to show your advert for irrelevant search terms, exact match is much narrower. Users who click through based on an exact match keyword are likely to actually be interested in your offering, and therefore keep costs down by eliminating irrelevant clicks. However, this kind of match can be quite restrictive on traffic as the search volume on specific terms is lower.

How does this affect my AdWords campaign?

The use of match types can have a large impact on the success of your campaigns. Campaigns that use many broad match types may find their budget is wasted on irrelevant clicks, while those using only phrase match and exact match will miss out on longer and less frequent searches.

To run an effective campaign, advertisers should use a mixture of match types to ensure you are reaching the most valuable traffic. Advertisers should then monitor the campaign, removing any irrelevant terms and adding them as negative keywords. By closely monitoring, then responding to the keyword data as it comes in, your campaign should reap the benefits match type targeting.


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