Google Ads Keywords Match Types | How To Optimise Them

Keywords match types are essential to ensure that you target the right kind of users in your sales funnel, and get the right kind of target audience with a specific search intent. Today, we will talk about how does one choose the various PPC keywords variant and match types.

Table of Contents

What are Google Ads keywords match types?

Keyword match types are the configuration that one chooses to limit control on the search terms that will trigger your ads in the search engine results page.

Google has given advertisers the option to customise not only the keywords that they wish to target and bid for, but also the extent. From broad matches to exact matches, it allows advertisers to specify if they want a broader targeting or more granular targeting when it comes to targeted keywords.


Keywords Match Types Choices

keywords match types table

Note that near the end of 2021, Google is removing bbm keywords

google ads match types changes bbm and new phrase match

Why Does It Matter?

• Search Intent (avoiding irrelevant search terms)
• Conversion Rates

Having a broader match may either:
• Allow you the reach your target audience outside of your initial targeting • Or your ads may reach users who might not be actually interested in your service offerings

For example, if you are offering cleaning services in Singapore, and you choose to use phrase match to your term
• It will trigger search terms such as: good “cleaning services in Singapore”
• And also trigger low buying intent search terms such as: how to get free “cleaning services in Singapore”

Thus, the question remains, how should one should go about choosing their keywords? Is exact match the only way to get the best results for your campaign?

Broad or Exact Match? (The Risks Involved)

In general, would encourage a broad to exact targeting approach. This means one should cast their net wide, and progressively streamline the targeting.

Pros & Cons of broad match targeting
• + Save time and effort (especially if you do not have time to do a proper keywords research and configuration)
• + Cover more ground
• + Broader match usually has a cheaper cost per click compared to exact match keywords
       o Exact match: $$
       o Phrase match: $
       o Broad match: $

Pros & Cons of exact match targeting
• + Focus on high intent keywords
• + More control
• – Higher average cost per click
• – Risk missing related search queries traffic
• – Unable to capture the high intent long-tail search queries


What to take note of:
• Search volume
• Cost Per Click and competition (can be found in Google ads keyword planner)

The first thing you need to take note of is the search volume. In general, search terms that are very specific, long-tail, and niche in nature will usually have lower search volume.

See sample case study below:
Cleaning Singapore – Search Volume: 300
Toilet Cleaning in Singapore – Search Volume: 10

If you are advertising for a cleaning company, and your main focused service is on toilet cleaning, because that is your speciality and focusing on that service offering makes most business sense, then it would be ideal to target the second keyword above.

However, if you see that the search volume is way too low, then it would make sense to target that keywords and give it either a broad match or broad modifier match. This allows you to expand on relatively high intent search queries relating to toilet cleaning.

The other key factor to take note is the average cost per click. If your budget is very much limited, then actually you might not be able to afford going broader in your targeting.

Usually for keywords with high intent and search volume, it is advised that you should go more toward exact or phrase matches just so that you do not risk targeting broader search terms; especially with a low budget.

How To Avoid Irrelevant Search Terms (optimising)?

Most advertisers will have a variation of exact, phrase, and broad matches in their targeted keyword list, so the question now is: what if I want to do broad targeting? How do I filter out those search terms that are irrelevant and are eating into my budget? 

Well good news for you, the way to do that is through adding in negative search terms. You have the option to either add keywords into your negative keyword list through the campaign level or ad group level. 

Adding in “lousy” to your negative keyword list will ensure that whenever a search query has the word ‘lousy’ in it, your ads will not be shown to such a query. 

Thus, whenever you are doing broad targeting, you should always add in many negative keywords that you can predict users will search for and filter them out right away. 

Progressively, as you monitor your campaign and see the different search terms triggered (ad clicked on), you can start to add them into your list, so as to streamline your targeting.

google ads keywords match types - adding negative keywords in google ads

Additional things that you can optimise on

keywords research - campaign structure

Other than optimising on the keywords level, there are many other aspects of the campaign that you can optimise in regards to targeting.

Campaign and ad group level:
• Schedule
• Demographics
• Audience Keywords Level (per ad group)
• Keywords and search terms

All in all, there is no such thing as a one size fit all approach; what may work for company A, may not work exactly in company B, especially when there are so many factors that are affecting a campaign’s overall conversion rate.

Thus, it is important you do your keyword research, followed by mapping out your keyword plan and followed by constant testing and optimisation.