Keywords are words or phrases connected to ad groups that are used to match your ads with terms people are searching for. It’s important to narrow down your Google Ads keywords to a high-quality, relevant selection in order to make the most of your budget and to attract the right people.

Different Types of Google Ads Keywords

We’d like to introduce you to the four different types of Google Ads keywords: broad match, broad match modified, phrase match, and exact match. 

  • Broad match: This is the default match type. This keyword type includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. For example, if your keyword is “air conditioning repair,” your ad may show for things like “AC service,” “repairing my hvac system,” or “AC repair company.”

  • Broad match modified: While similar to broad match, this keyword type offers more control by only showing when a search includes the words you’ve marked with a plus sign (+). For example, the keyword +red +shoes will match with a search for “red women’s shoes,” but not for “women’s shoes” or “women’s hiking boots.”

  • Phrase match: This keyword type, enclosed in quotation marks, shows when people search for your exact keyword and close variants of your exact keyword. This includes room for additional words both before or after. As a middle ground keyword type, it gives more structure than broad match and more flexibility than exact match. For example, “AC repair service” will show for an exact search as well as variants like “AC repair service near me” and “Sarasota AC repair service.”
  • Exact match: Enclosed in brackets, this is the most targeted keyword type and will only show to customers who are searching for your exact keyword or close variants of it. Whether someone searches for [air conditioning repair] or [repair for air conditioning], they are both looking for the same thing. This also applies to misspellings, singular or plural forms, and abbreviations.

When do I use each keyword type?


When starting your advertising campaign from scratch, using broad match and broad match modified keywords can be the best option to get a feel for what your customers are searching for.

However, after running these generic keywords for a few weeks, you can review the most common search terms and narrow down your keyword list to both phrase and exact match types. Condensing your keywords into their most effective and pinpointed versions will increase your click-through-rate as well as lower your cost per click. Plus, you increase your chances of showing your ads to customers who are actually going to convert.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep your lists down to around 30 keywords per ad group. Additionally, we don’t suggest using the same keyword in every match type in a single ad group. For example, don’t use +red +shoes, “red shoes,” and [red shoes] all at the same time. Decide which match type aligns the most with your goals and target audience and use it on its own.

At Rooks Agency, our team of dedicated and certified Google Ads managers can help you decide exactly which keywords will work best with your goals. If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your Google Ads campaigns, give us a call at 941-747-2021!

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