Broad Match vs Phrase Match vs Exact Match – Google Ads 2019

Broad match vs phrase match vs exact match? What are Broad Match keywords? What are Exact Match keywords? What is Phrase Match keyword? What is broad match modifier definition? If these doubts are hampering your Google Adwords campaign management, then today you are going to learn them all. So let’s go step-by-step and understand what are the broad match keywords and broad match modifiers in the beginning.

Broad Match Keywords – Definition:

The keyword type namely, broad match is known to be the default match type of Google Ads. In the event that you do not specify any match type of your campaign, your ads automatically run on broad match. It means they will be triggered on all the possible variations of your keyword (s). These variations can be of plural forms, misspellings, keyword additions, stemming (e.g., write, writing, etc.), synonyms, related searches, etc. So, if a few terms are not part of your keyword, but are followed by your keyword, your ad may appear in Google Search results.

However, this technique brings more visitors to your website, but all of them may not be relevant to your business domain.

Example of Broad Match Keyword:

If your keyword is PPC company in Delhi, the ad may trigger on the following keywords too:

  • Company in Delhi
  • PPC Company
  • Best PPC Company in Delhi
  • PPC companies
  • Adwords management company in Delhi
  • PPC agencies in Delhi
  • PPC organizations
  • Top PPC companies in Delhi

What is Broad Match Modifier – Definition?

The next one in the list is broad match modifier, which is known as an advanced version of broad match Keyword type. Yes! Broad match modifier helps you create more conversion driven campaigns as compared to the simple broad match keyword type. As mentioned before, merely using broad match keyword can make you spend more on Google Ad campaign. Why? Well! The reason is that simple broad match keywords may trigger unwanted leads along with your business specific leads. This is why broad match modifier came in the picture.

Modified broad match keyword helps you refine leads as per your business requirements.  They facilitate you to specify that certain broad match keyword terms or their closed variants must be present to make your ad appear in search result. It can be extremely helpful if your quest is to get only the meaningful queries under a set budget. Remember! Here, the close variants do not include related searches or synonyms. They include synonyms, misspelling, singular, plural, abbreviations, acronyms, stemming, etc.

Let’s understand broad match modifier a little bit more for bringing more clarity to it. Well! A broad match modifier makes your ad visible if anyone’s search query has keywords marked with + sign. Now, this ‘+’ sign transforms broad match to broad match modifier.

Example of Broad Match Modifier:

If your broad match modifier keyword is +content +writing company in Delhi, then your ad will trigger on the following search queries:

Search QueryAdvertisement Result
Content writing in DelhiYes
Content Company in DelhiNo
Content writing services in DelhiYes
Writing company in DelhiNo


In nutshell, the search query must have both broad match modifier terms to display your advertisement.

What is Phrase Match Keyword – Definition

With phrase match, you can show your ad to customers who are searching for your exact keyword and close variants of your exact keyword, with additional words before or after.

Phrase match is used to further refine your leads. Yes, you got it right! Phrase match displays your ad only if any search query exactly matches your keyword (s), their close variants and additional words before or after. Attention! Here, close variants include misspellings, abbreviations, stemming (), singular and plural forms. Another important thing in Phrase match is the order of words in search query. In other words, your ad will not be displayed if there is an additional world between your main keyword.

Phrase match keyword is represented with a sign, “”. Let’s take an example of a phrase match keyword, “Soccer Jersey”:

Example of Phrase Match Keyword:

Search QueryAdvertisement Result
Exclusive Soccer JerseyYes
Buy Soccer Jersey at DiscountYes
Red Soccer JerseyYes
Jersey for SoccerNo
Soccer T-shirtNo

What is Exact Match Keyword – Definition

Exact match keyword is one of the smartest Google Adwords keyword types that show your ad to the customers, searching for the exact keyword or close variants. Exact match keyword type is represented with a sign, [].  Attention! The close variants in Exact Match Keyword type are a bit different than phrase match Keyword or broad match keyword type. Here, close variants comprises search intent as well.

In simplified language, if the meaning of somebody’s search query matches with your keyword, then it makes your ad triggered in search results. Close variations in Exact Match Keywords allow us to have an opportunity to connect with the customers, looking for our services. Here, you are no longer required to create a list of innumerable keywords as you do it in broad match, broad match modifier and phrase match respectively. Moreover, exact match keyword type is known to deliver more conversions, as it works on displaying your ad as per the intent of search query regardless of spelling, grammar, etc.

Be it the search query “Soccer Jersey” or “Jersey for Soccer”, the intention of your audience remains the same. Yes, they are looking for soccer jersey. Right?

Here is the list of close variants in exact match keyword type when your ad will be shown under exact match keyword type:

  • Same intent
  • Singular and plural forms
  • Stemming
  • Paraphrase
  • Implied words
  • Abbreviation
  • Reordered words with same meaning (e.g., [soccer jersey], [jersey soccer], etc.)
  • Conjunctions, prepositions, articles (e.g., [shoes for men], [men shoes])
  • Synonyms
  • Same search intent (e.g., If your exact match keyword is [Cricket bat], your ad will be showed on search query, buy bat for cricket)

Example of Exact Match Keyword Type:

If your exact match keyword is: [Pants for Men], then here is its display status as per various search queries:

Search QueryAdvertisement Result
Pants MenYes
Men PantsYes
Men PantYes
Pants for a ManYes
Red Pants for MenNo
Buy Men PantsNo
Gyming PantsNo

If your exact match keyword is [bathing suits], here is the display ad result:

Search QueryAdvertisement Result
Swimming suitsYes
Competition swimwearNo
Suits for SwimmingYes

Last but not the least, in the event that your exact match keyword is [Images royalty free], then here is the display ad result:

Search QueryAdvertisement Result
Free copyright imageYes
Stock imagesNo
Freeware copyright imagesYes

Phrase Match vs Exact Match

In the battle of phrase match vs exact match keyword type, exact match is known to be more advanced keyword match type owing to its meaningfulness. Exact match is extremely helpful to deliver the meaningful search results to the customers, which certainly saves their time as well as ours. But, it does not mean that you are suggested to only use the exact match keyword instead of other Adwords keyword types. Well! It entirely depends on your business requirements, as the nature of every business may vary.

The changes to the close variants in exact match keyword type have been made in September, 2018.  In nutshell, exact match keyword type has been evolved to show the best results as per user’s need. And, Yes! This is what every entrepreneur is looking for in the arena of paid advertising. So generate more ROI by choosing the best keyword type for better Google Adwords campaign management experience. Be it broad match, modified broad match or the bout of broad match vs phrase match vs exact match, choose the right Adwords keyword type to make a difference. Good Luck!

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