Google AdWords Broad Keyword Matching

    April 16, 2007

Google AdWords provides four keyword matching choices, “broad”, “phrase”, “exact” and “negative”.

Broad matching is the default option in that it requires no special formatting. There are advantages to using broad match but some disadvantages as well. 

Broad Match Pluses: 

  • more impressions and more traffic
  • a wider variety of keyword phrases can be targeted without having to add them all into the campaign
  • can be used to find additional, popular keyword phrases if you examine the logs to find the full phrases

Broad Match Minuses:

  • not as targeted – you can cover a wider range of searches with one broad match but you can’t make the ads as relevant to very targeted searchers
  • expanded match can give unwanted matches
  • poor targeting can result in a lower click through rate which will in turn result in a low quality score
  • broad matching will not be delivered on all matches for new accounts with no quality score history


  1. Use all 3 matching types to start with and then act on the information the results deliver.

Use an analytics program such as Google analytics to discover additional keyword phrases from your broad matches. Add them as exact matches in a new ad group and improve the targeting.

Delete keywords which don’t perform.

– Use different bids for each keyword matching option. Keep in mind that you may have to pay more for high converting, very targeted exact matches.

  1. Use broad matching for longer phrases rather than single words. Where phrases overlap use separate ad groups and negative keywords to control which keyword phrase is matched. For example, if you have broad match keywords “web design” and “custom web design”, a search for “custom web design” could be matched with either phrase. Google will not necessarily select the most relevant phrase so if you want more control and better targeting then add a negative keyword for “custom” in the ad group containing “web design”.

Ad Group 1

web design


Ad Group 2

custom web design

  1. Use dynamic keyword insertion to improve the targeting for broad matches