Explanation of Differences in Keyword Match Types for SEO And AdWords

Keyword match types in Google AdWords and SEO. What are the differences between broad, phrase, exact and negative keywords? How do you find out which one would be best for your campaigns?

The two major types of keyword matching for search engine marketing/advertising are broad match and exact match. Broad matches will allow you to use a phrase in your ad copy with some potential variations while an exact match will only show ads when the user is using the specific word or phrase in their query. This article breaks down each type and what they can do for your business!.

Keyword match types are the different ways in which Google Search will interpret a keyword. There are 4 main types of keyword match types: exact, phrase, broad and exact phrase.

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 phrase match 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.

Broad match

Broad match keywords are those that allow you to reach the largest potential audience, allowing you to bring more traffic to your website.

The default match type in Google Ads is broad match. You must be prepared for Google to display your adverts for a considerably larger variety of search queries if you include keywords without special symbols such as [] and +. Of the three strategies, broad match keywords have the biggest drawbacks: The traffic to your website will not be targeted; most visitors will be random people who happened onto your ad; also, some of the keywords for which your advertising will be shown may be completely unrelated to the subject or topic of your website or blog. 

women’s hats is a broad match keyword.

Searches that match:

purchase women’s hats

clothes for ladies

scarves for women

Women’s winter headgear

broad match (modified)

This match type gives you greater control over the look of your search results and improves the relevance of the traffic you get from PPC advertisements. The following is an example of modified wide match keywords:

+hats +for +women’s +women’s +women’s +women’s +women’s +w

Searches that match:

scarves and hats for ladies

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

Phrase match keywords are in the middle: they’re more targeted than wide match keywords, but not as much as exact match keywords. This does provide you more options when it comes to attracting people to your website.

Additional words may be inserted before or after the key phrase in phrase match keywords, but not in the middle.

“Women’s Hats” is a phrase that matches the keyword.

Searches that match:

hats for ladies in blue

purchase women’s hats

women’s hats on sale

Identical match

Broad keywords are the polar opposite of exact match keywords. These keywords are based on specific search queries and phrases, down (or virtually) to the last detail, as the name implies. For the search engine to see your ad, the search query must perfectly match the term. As a result, this is the most hardest sort of keyword match to master. Exact match keywords, on the other hand, produce tailored traffic that is simpler to convert.

[women’s hats] is an exact match keyword.

Searches that match:

hats for women

hats for women

hats for women

hats for ladies

Because the chances of an exact match are slim, you’ll obtain less traffic to your site than if you used wide or phrase match keywords. You’ll need to add additional keywords to your campaign to enhance the number of visitors. Nonetheless, since the possibilities of conversion are greatest, even minimal visitors might increase your revenue.

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.

This issue will be solved by using negative match keywords. You may use this keyword type to prevent your advertising from showing up for particular search queries.

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 must use keywords in a different way than when it comes to PPC. Google accepts every search query as a wide match type term in organic results (assuming you don’t use advanced search operators). This implies you have much less control over which terms your content is shown for, but you shouldn’t be concerned since you don’t pay for every hit. Because search engine algorithms have changed so much, it’s no longer essential to utilize your target term in the same manner throughout your content in order to rank well. The term “fix” is highlighted in the screenshot below, even though it isn’t 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

Keyword match types are different for SEO and AdWords. The “phrase match keywords symbol” is a keyword that has been used to differentiate between the two.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is keyword explain various keyword match types used in Google AdWords?

A: Keywords are the words that users type into a search engine to find content on their website. Each keyword has an intent associated with it, which can be used by advertisers to help them target ads for people who have been searching for certain content.

What are the 3 types of keyword matching?

A: These are the three different types of keyword matching that you will come across in search. There is exact match, phrase match and proximity match.

What are the different keyword match types?

A: Keyword match types are some of the most important elements to understand when starting out with Googles search engine. There are four different keyword match types that you should be familiar with before beginning your research, namely broad match, exact match, phrase search and wildcard searches. Broad matches will get results for any question or string of words including variations in spelling or punctuation. Exact matches are used when you want to find all result pages related to a specific word so long as it appears exactly on one page without changes in spelling or punctuation. Phrase-matching is useful for finding websites that have certain phrases within their content while wildcards work best for more general questions like “how do I buy tickets?” This type enables users to see every website on the web where this text can be found even if they contain other keywords

Related Tags

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