How to Use Keyword Match Types for SEM and SEO

Match-types-blog-image-smalUnderstanding Google’s keyword matching tool and using it effectively is vital to maximising the potential of any adwords campaign. Here’s our short guide and a few tips on how to make the most of it for both SEM and SEO purposes.


First of all where can I find it?
In Google adwords the match types tool can be found in the left hand column of the keyword tool.

Ok, so what exactly does it do?
Essentially, the match types tool allows you to manage the diversity of the keyword search terms which will trigger your advert to appear on the corresponding search engine results page.

Great, how do I use it?
Under match types in the keyword tool you should have three options:
1. Broad – As you might expect if you select this option then your advert will appear for the largest number of keyword searches possible. This includes misspellings, synonyms and any other variations of your keyword that Google sees fit.
2. [Exact] – Again it pretty much does what it says. Selecting this will mean that your advert will only appear for searches that match your keyword exactly.
3. “Phrase” – Slightly more ambiguous, this option is a halfway house between the other two. In essence it will cause your advert to show up when either a search query matches your keyword exactly or with words either side of it.

That sound interesting but surely I just want my ads to appear as often as possible?
ROI should always be at the forefront of your mind when making any marketing spend decision and Google adwords is no exception. Although at first having your ad displayed for the maximum number of keyword search terms possible may sound like the best way to generate exposure for your company and to boost your revenue, it can actually be extremely cost ineffective. Using the broad match keyword tool means that a lot of your traffic will be extremely un-targeted, directed from keyword searches that don’t really relate to your initial keyword. As we like to say, it is nearly as important not to advertise to the wrong people as it is to advertise to the right ones. On the flip side however, we find the [exact] match tool to be far too narrow. Statistically a massive 60% of all searches are unique and so by using the [exact] match keyword tool you are greatly restricting your reach and could potentially lose out on thousands of clients. In the world of SEO and SEM relevance is king and that’s why we find the “phrase” match tool to be best. It gives you a level of control that maximises the difference between the relevant and irrelevant keyword searches that will trigger it to appear.

How can I use the adwords tool for SEO and keyword research effectively?
This works in much the same way as when using it for SEM campaigns. Again “broad” match is not the greatest selection when undertaking a keyword research project. As a client of ours said recently he does not want to be presented with broad match statistics as they show “wildly inflated figures” and you can “end up promoting a whole load of phrases that in reality have almost no traffic volume or relevance”. For example, the fact that Google will show “synonyms” for your keyphrases means that an advert for the broad match phrase “luxury car rental” could turn up for the phrase “motorbike hire” – not ideal. As previously stated [exact] is also quite limiting because people very rarely search for the same phrase over and over again. If you look at your search visitor stats on Google analytics you will see there are many more phrases with one visitor than many. Relevance quote “phrase” match stats for keyword research as it doesn’t give over-inflated figures to the client but takes into account that if you are top for one exact keyword you might come pretty high for similar phrases in that keyword family. In other words if you are in 1st position for “luxury car rental” there’s a good chance you’ll be 1st or top 3 for “luxury car rentals” or for that matter “luxury blue car rentals”.

In Conclusion
It may sound like we are being a little cautious by taking the middle ground and stating that the “phrase” match tool is the most effective option for SEO and SEM purposes, and we’ll admit it’s by no means perfect. At the end of the day however money talks and if you want to maximise that all important ROI it’s a proven winner.

Note: the broad match tool is automatically ticked when you start using the keywords tool as from Google’s point of view it creates much better statistics which is likely to increase your spend and the more times your advert is displayed the more money they can make.


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