Unveiling Perfect Keywords for Google Ads Campaigns

The choice of keywords for Google Ads campaigns determine the success of your PPC Marketing. Use various types of keyword-matching options.

Google Ads is constantly evolving, with new updates, panel enhancements, and automation appearing from time to time. All these improvements aim at making ad configuration user-friendly. The only constant in this ever-changing landscape? The choice of keywords. In this article, you’ll discover the types of keyword-matching options available in Google Ads.

We designed this article for individuals who already possess a foundational understanding of SEO and PPC marketing. Therefore, we won’t be discussing why choosing Google Ads Advertising is worthwhile; instead, we will dive straight into the specifics.

Keywords for Google Ads campaigns

A keyword is a term entered into a search engine to find specific information. Every minute, internet users search millions of keywords worldwide. The right keyword should attract relevant, high-quality traffic to your advertised website.

Selecting keywords in Google Ads may initially appear to be a simple and swift task. However, when creating an advertising campaign, choosing the right keyword match type can be a daunting challenge for many users. The success of your campaign often hinges on selecting the appropriate keywords.

Here are the key types of keyword matching:

  1. Broad Match: This was the default setting. Your ad may show if a search query includes any word in your key phrase in any order.
  2. Broad Match Modifier: Adds a “+” symbol before specific words. It ensures that those terms are present in the user’s search query.
  3. Phrase Match: Your ad appears when the search query includes your keyword as part of a longer phrase.
  4. Exact Match: Your ad appears when the search query matches your chosen keyword exactly.
  5. Excluding Keywords: Prevents your ad from showing when a particular term is part of the user’s search.

Understanding these options and choosing the right one is crucial for the success of your Google Ads campaign. Each type serves a specific purpose, impacting the reach and relevance of your advertisements.

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Broad Match

Broad Match was a modifier phased out in July 2021 and now functions similarly to the Phrase Match, which we’ll discuss shortly. It was the default match type using keywords similar to your defined keyword in Google Ads.

It encompassed words with misspellings, synonyms, plural and singular forms. No symbols were used in this match type. To achieve the best ad relevance, it was crucial to utilize negative keywords.

The primary advantage of this matching was the potential to discover new keywords for which you could create dedicated ad groups. You would add these new keywords with more precise matching and exclude them in ad groups with broad matching.

So, if you were running ads for the keyword “virtual private server” they would be displayed in broad matching phrases like “best virtual private server reviews”, “VPS for rent“, “buy VPS UltaHost”, and so on.

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Broad Match Modifier

By using the “+” modifier, you narrow down the display of ads for synonyms. The order of words doesn’t matter here. The correct construction of a keyword with the modifier is +keyword +keyword. It is also advisable to use a list of excluding keywords.

The Broad Match Modifier provides better visibility and control over which terms trigger ad displays and where you allocate your budget for clicks. If your keyword in a broad match, for example, “electric car”, needs a change in word matching, it’s worth trying to adjust it using the modifier. After the changes, it would look like this: +car +electric.

This adjustment would result in ads being displayed in searches like: “electric cars for sale,” “new electric car,” and “electric cars and vehicles.” However, you wouldn’t get ad impressions, for example, for searches like “gas car” or “hybrid car.”

Phrase Match

A keyword in phrase match utilizes quotation marks, and the correct appearance of your keyword should look like this: “keyword”. The ad is displayed to the user when their query includes the phrase we’ve specified or a closely related variation in the case of inflected languages.

Similar to previous types of matching, here you also make use of excluding keywords. For example, if your phrase match keyword is “free SEO tools”, ads may appear for other related keywords, but individual words must appear in the preserved order. In this case, the query “how to optimize your website with free seo tools” could trigger an ad display.

Exact Match

The keyword is enclosed in square brackets [], causing it to display exact matches or close variations with the same meaning. Similar variations include abbreviations, related words, singular or plural forms, or spelling errors.

It’s also possible to use functional words (prepositions, articles, conjunctions) or expressions with a different word order but convey the same meaning. Placing the keyword in square brackets [virtual hosting], we get fairly precise search results, such as VPS servers, VDS hosting, or WordPress VPS hosting.

It’s advisable to monitor the keywords matched by Google to exact match keywords, especially for inflected languages that pose challenges for algorithms. The more parts of speech a language inflects, the more challenging it becomes for the algorithm to match, and consequently, for positioning.

Excluding Keywords

The selection of keywords to exclude should be a thoughtful process as it determines reaching potential customers with your ads. When there are too many excluded words, the reach of your ads becomes smaller. Excluding keywords can be added at the campaign or ad group level.

Negative matching prevents ads from appearing when a specific word is searched. It’s important to note that excluded words can and sometimes need to be edited. For example, if you only sell new electric cars, you should exclude the term “used” and its variations in different match types. Knowing advanced Google search rules will help you in setting adequate keywords in your Google Ads Campaign.

How to Configure Keywords for Google Ads?

To specify the match type, log in to your Google Ads account, then on the left sidebar, choose “Keywords.” Next, click on the large plus button on the main screen and select your ad group. In the “Add keywords” text field, enter the keywords you want to use. At this point, you can decide the match type for your keywords or leave them in broad match, modifying after saving.

If you’re using a broad match and want to change the match type for one or more keywords, you can do that. To reconfigure, click “Keywords” on the left-side menu. Then select the keyword you intend to modify. In the selection field, you can change the match type, and if you’re using a broad match modifier, manually apply the “+” symbol and save the changes.


Choosing between less precise keyword matching and exact matching depends on the nature of your business and the service you are advertising. It’s beneficial to use a combination of broad-reaching keywords and more focused, exact-match keywords within a single campaign.

Don’t forget about continuous keyword optimization and monitoring your campaign to effectively react at the right moments.

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What is a keyword and why is it important in Google Ads?
What are the main types of keyword matching in Google Ads?
How do I configure keywords for matching in Google Ads?
What are the benefits of using negative keywords in Google Ads?
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