Getting the Right Keyword Match in Google Adwords

Getting the Right Keyword Match in Google Adwords

Unless you’ve been abducted by Aliens and have only just arrived back on Earth after a 15 year absence, then I’m probably safe to assume you know what Google is.

   Google is renowned as one of the most popular search engines on the planet. Millions of searches are conducted on it every day of the week. Which means that taking advantage of it’s Google Adwords service to display adverts on it is a very smart move for almost any type of business I can think of.

   Google have made it as easy as possible to get started, and provide extensive help with things like structuring campaigns, writing adverts and creating lists of keywords, which are the phrases people type in Google, and which you can choose to display your advert.

   So let’s say you sell widgets. You could setup a Google Adwords campaign so that whenever someone searches for ‘widgets’, your advert appears on the first page of Google’s search results.

   However you wouldn’t just want the one keyword, ‘widgets’, to be in your Adwords account. You should enter hundreds or more variations on the widgets theme.

   You should have keyword phrases that include words like “cheap” and “deluxe”, colours, verbs, adjectives, place names and so on. Try and cover every possible phrase that someone could enter when searching for the types of products and services you offer the marketplace.

   So with a lot of brainstorming, and using keyword generation tools like the one Google provides, or keyword discovery services like the excellent one at it’s possible you could end up with a list of hundreds, maybe even thousands of keywords!

   That’s great... but don’t stop there!

   The next step—and one that’s so commonly overlooked by so many Google Adwords advertisers—is the ability to specify what’s called the keyword match type. There are four possible keyword match types:

(1) Broad (2) Phrase (3) Exact (4) Negative

   To explain the difference between these, and why they’re so important if you want to highly optimise your Adwords account, let’s use an example. Let’s say you’ve added the following phrase to your Adwords account:

   deluxe widgets

   If somebody goes to Google and searches on that phrase then your advert would in theory appear. In fact your advert would also appear if someone typed in the following phrase:

   where do I find deluxe green widgets?

   Your advert would appear because that phrase still contains the two keywords in your phrase, ‘deluxe’ and ‘widget’. However, what if someone typed in the following phrase:

   where do I find free deluxe widgets?

   Now in that case you wouldn’t want your advert to appear because you sell widgets, you don’t give them away for free! So what you can do in this case is add the word free as what’s called a ‘negative match type’. So you’d add the following keyword to your Adwords account:


   The minus sign at the beginning of the word free means Google won’t ever display your adverts whenever someone has included the word free in their search phrase. It’s very important you add as many relevant negative keywords as possible to make sure your adverts don’t appear to the wrong people. (E.g. If your range of wedding dresses doesn’t include black wedding dresses then -black should be in your account as a negative phrase.)

   You can also tell Google to not display your adverts if there are any words in between your keywords. This is called phrase matching. To do simply enclose your keyword phrase in double quotes (speech marks) like this:

   “deluxe widgets”

   Do that and if someone runs a search on the phrase ‘deluxe green widgets’ your advert won’t appear. However it would still appear if someone ran a search on the phrase ‘green deluxe widgets’ because the word green is not in the middle. In that case, if you didn’t want your advert to appear unless someone typed in your exact phrase, you can wrap the keyword phrase in square brackets, like this:

   [deluxe widgets]

   Then the ONLY time your adverts would appear is if someone typed in the exact phrase with no other words either before, after or in between the words inside square brackets.

   Now the ability to choose what type of matching to apply to your keywords is very powerful, but in my experience it causes a lot of confusion! The common question is “how do I know what type of matching to apply?!”

   Well the answer to this dilemma is strikingly simple. You don’t decide! Let Google tell you. To do this, add all three match type variations for each keyword phrase in your account. So going back to our ‘deluxe widget’ phrase you’d actually have the following three keywords in your adgroup:

   deluxe widgets

   “deluxe widgets”

   [deluxe widgets]

   That way—providing you have conversion tracking turned on (and you absolutely must have it turned on!) then you’ll find out which match types generate the most sales. Then it’s a simple matter of disabling or deleting the keyword match types that aren’t converting as well, (or at least investigate them more to fine tune them by hundreds of percent. But more about that in a future article.)

   For now, make sure you’ve got conversion tracking turned on (refer to Google’s online help system if you don’t know what that is - it’s critical.) Then go and add all three match types for each keyword in your adgroups. Finally, let Google tell you which keyword match type generates the highest levels of sales and profits! Do it today.