Understanding Keywords Match Types and Negative Keywords

Google AdWords may be one of the most effective ways to find new buyers for your goods and services, but it’s not necessarily an easy system to use. It’s not enough to know what words searchers are using to find your product or service. You also need to know the intention that is driving them to use that particular keyword and do a search in the first place.

Here is a look at two critical aspects of understanding keywords, so you can put together an effective online campaign. The first is match types and the second is making sure you ad doesn’t show up for specific terms, which in AdWords is accomplished by using negative keywords.

keyword selection

Match Types

For every keyword you choose for your ad campaign, you give it a match type. This regulates how narrow or broad a keyword is that will make a match for the keyword you are using in your AdWords campaign.

Each type has its own features and effects. The basic types of matches are:

Broad match – This is the most general type of user search query match and will bid on a wide variety of terms related to the phrase. When you set your match at broad, you reach more people. But at the same time, you can lose out on relevancy.

Broad match modifier – This variation allows you to ensure that at least one word in the phrase is required to bid on it. You do this by adding a + symbol to the word. For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, a phrase like ‘+injury lawyer’ would typically be appealing as it requires that the user’s search query include the word injury. This allows for a more targeted approach.

Phrase match – This dictates that the users’ search query contain a desired phase. An example of this would be a phrase match of ‘family dentist’. If a user search the phrase ‘great family dentist’, the ad could appear as it contains that phrase match.

Exact match – This is if you only want the exact intended phrase.

Each different match type is technically a different keyword you’re bidding on with a different quality score. You can experiment with different match types for keywords you’re bidding on to identify opportunities and improve quality scores.

Negative KeyWords (Match)

The fifth type of match in addition to the list above is called a negative keyword. Negative keywords are an essential part of an effective campaign. In the absence of having negatives, you’re likely burning through ad spend, bidding on phrases that aren’t relevant for your business.

By adding a simple minus sign before a keyword, you are letting Google know that you don’t want to put your ad in front of searchers if it contains the keyword you determine, your negative keyword. This reduces the number of times it is shown, which reduces how much you are charged. But it’s real intent is to make your ad show up with better relevancy.

For example, if you are an HVAC company that services and sells home eating and cooling equipment, you may want to add ‘portable’ to your negative keyword list. This is because a phrase like ‘portable heaters’ may not be a valuable search term for your business.

How Do You Know What KeyWords You Won at Auction?

That’s the critical question when you put together an ad campaign. You can check how you are doing by looking at query reports, also called search term reports.

search terms

These tell you how our specific ad did when it was set off by an actual search. This report has a column for match types. This lets you know how directly the searcher’s keyword, which prompted your ad to appear, is related to the specific keyword you are using for your campaign. It’s also useful to review as you can continue to add to your campaign’s negative keyword list.

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