Explanation of Differences in Keyword Match Types for SEO And AdWords

Keyword match types are the various ways that you can use keywords in your AdWords and SEO marketing campaigns. Choosing between these different options is a critical decision, as each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of what they all mean, along with tips on how to make it work best for your business.,

Keyword match types are the different types of matches that can be found in Google AdWords and SEO. This article will explain the differences between keyword match types. Read more in detail here: keyword match types google ads.

Because keywords are the lifeblood of an internet marketing strategy, you must pay close attention to the ones you choose. The majority of terms typed into Google and other search engines result in both organic and sponsored results:


Despite the fact that the SERP (search engine results page) is the same, you must use different strategies while looking for SEO and PPC keywords. Understanding keyword match types and paying attention to keyword CPC and search volume is critical for a PPC campaign, but keyword search volume and keyword difficulty are the most important variables to consider for SEO. Let’s take a closer look at these techniques.

Google Ads keyword match types (formerly AdWords)

The keyword match types you choose have an impact on the results you get, which most people are unaware of. There are five main match kinds for AdWords (now Google Ads) keywords. You must understand each kind in depth in order to make an informed selection about which ones to include in your campaign.

The following are the five most common keyword match types:

  • a wide match (max reach, min relevance)

  • a wide match with few modifications (slightly lower reach, greater relevance)

  • Matching phrases (medium reach, medium relevance)

  • Identical match (min reach, max relevance)

  • Negatively correlated (usually used to increase the relevance of the website visitors)

Pro tip: PPC professionals should bear in mind that Google is constantly changing the definitions of various match kinds, making each one larger. Exact and Matching phrases keywords have a lot more variants in 2019 than they had two years ago. Misspellings and typos are no longer treated as independent keywords; instead, they are identified and incorporated as near variants of the “original” term.

a wide match

a wide 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.

a wide 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. a wide match type keywords have the most drawbacks of the three options: 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. 

a wide match keyword: women’s hats

Searches that match:

purchase women’s hats

clothes for ladies

scarves for women

Women’s winter headgear

Modified a wide 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 a wide match keywords look:

Modified a wide match keyword: +women’s +hats

Searches that match:

scarves for women and hats

women’s winter hats

hats for fashionable women

If you have a raw keyword list that you’d want to modify the match type for rapidly, the Semush PPC Keyword tool may help.



Matching phrases

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

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

Matching phrases keyword: “women’s hats”

Searches that match:

hats for ladies in blue

purchase women’s hats

women’s hats on sale

Identical match

Identical 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 Identical match keywords is curated and easier to convert for you.

Identical match keyword: [women’s hats]

Searches that match:

women’s hats

women’s hats

women’s hats

hats for ladies

The probability of an Identical match is low, so the traffic you get to your website will be lower than you drive through broad or Matching phrases keywords. To increase the volume of traffic, you will have to add more keywords to your campaign. Still, the fact that the chances of conversion are highest means that even low traffic could boost your sales.

Negatively correlated

Assume you’re in the business of selling interior paints. You’ll market your paints, finishes, enamels, water-based and oil-based paints, and other items to customers seeking for them. However, you do not want your adverts to appear for art paints such as gouache, watercolor, or tempera.

Negatively correlated 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 may utilize all of the match types stated above to figure out how stringent the constraints should be. For further information, see this Google article.

In order to improve your SEO, you need do keyword research.

When it comes to organic SERPs, you need to work with keywords differently than in PPC. In organic results, Google basically treats every search query as a a wide match type keyword (if you don’t use advanced search operators, of course). This means you have much less control over what keywords your content will be shown for, but really there’s no need to worry about it because you don’t pay for every click. Search engine algorithms have evolved significantly, and it’s no longer necessary to use your target keyword in the exact same way in your content to get ranked high. In the screenshot below, the word “fix” is highlighted, even if it’s not present in the query:


To assess if a piece of content is worth ranking for a certain keyword, Google considers a variety of metrics and criteria (such as TF-IDF, for example). With this in mind, the keyword use suggestions suggest writing as “naturally” as possible, containing a variety of synonyms, near variants, and semantically similar phrases – in the manner in which we normally communicate.


Use the power of question keywords to your advantage (and boost your CTR)

Since Google launched Featured Snippets, question keywords have become incredibly significant. You’ve probably seen them before: they take up the majority of the area above the fold, making other websites on the SERP nearly invisible.


Getting into the Featured Snippet may boost your click-through rate by 114%. (see the example of Hubspot). Most likely, you’d be thrilled with a comparable traffic spike, which is why you should handle such terms differently. Question keywords may be discovered in any subject; using a specific tool to condense them down is a simple method to do it.

With SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool, you can quickly find query keywords:


Once you’ve collected enough query keywords and started developing content for them (or enhancing existing content), don’t forget to use Schema markup to help Google better crawl and “understand” your page’s content.

Keep the term “difficulty” in mind.

The cost per click is the most important parameter to watch in PPC (CPC). It’s also beneficial in SEO since the greater the CPC, the closer the competition in organic results may be. However, there is another indicator that might help you determine how difficult it may be to rank organically for a certain phrase. It’s referred to as keyword difficulty. Because the cost per click in sponsored search might alter every minute or increase and decrease based on business hours, it tends to be more dependable than CPC.

There are a number of techniques available to determine keyword difficulty. There are two possibilities in SEMrush: 

To check numerous keywords at once, use the Keyword Difficulty tool:


To calculate KD for a specific term and semantically similar words, use the Keyword Magic Tool.


You now have a better understanding of what each keyword match type offers and how you may utilize them to your advantage. You’ll also be aware of the distinctions between the various keyword categories. At the end of the day, the purpose of employing SEO and AdWords keywords is to increase the amount of visitors to your website, and each of the match types allows you to do exactly that. When determining which one to employ, take into account all of the criteria.

Using a keyword search engine to find the best terms for each match type in your campaign will help you save time and effort. The keyword search tool from SEMrush lets you locate the most relevant terms for your SEO and PPC campaigns, as well as a spreadsheet to organize them. To put it another way, SEMrush provides you with the tools you need to manage the keywords you use in your campaigns.

Make a master keyword list.

With the help of SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool, you can improve your search engine rankings.

ADS illustration

Broad match modifier is a term that can be used in Google AdWords and SEO. It is the difference between broad keyword match types. Broad match modifiers are important to understand when optimizing your campaigns. Reference: broad match modifier.

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