If you read my last post where I asked "Can You Make Sense Of Match Types," you learned about the four different match types: Broad match, "Phrase match", [Exact match] and -Negative match. We discussed how knowing the match types is only one part of using them.

You have control over those four match types and how they influence your ad spend. Broad match has the highest impression rate and lowest click through rate, and leaves you open to irrelevant clicks (remember my example of bidding on the term plastic card and having my ad display for the term toy cars?) so you really want to use match types like "phrase match", [exact match] and -negative keywords. That being the case it's important that you know where to go to set the match type, and how to tell Google that you want to use a match type other than broad match.

Where you go to enter and set your keywords depends on how much time you want to waste spend. I find that using the AdWords Editor is the fastest way to move, but let's assume you don't know how to use that, and we can save the Editor for a yet another post. There are a couple of different methods to use, let's look at Quick add and Keyword tool, since they're both listed at the top of your keyword list in each ad group.

Quick add

Click Quick add and there ya go, you've got the text box in which you're going to type in your keywords. There's even a list of suggested keyword ideas off to the right of the text box now.


Type your term in like this, to tell Google what match type you want:

  • Broad Match simply type the term (or combination of words)
  • "Phrase Match" type quotes at the beginning and end of any term (or combination of words)
  • [Exact Match] type a square bracket at the beginning and end of any term (or combination of words)

Build your list. Click save. Viola! You now have keywords with various match types.

Keyword tool
Click Keyword tool and it brings up a completely new window where you can work with all together new words (Descriptive words or phrases), Website content, or Existing keywords. Each method is pretty self explanatory once you're there. Select the method you prefer, then click the Get keyword ideas button.


Google will build a list that displays the keywords it finds relevant to what you entered. The initial list is broad matched, but you can select the match type of your choice, by clicking the drop down triangle. Add the words to your list by clicking the "Add" link on the right of the term. When you're done building your list, click the Save to Ad Group button and you're golden.

This illustration should give you somewhat of an idea as to what you're going to find:


Negative match

I've mentioned previously that negative keywords really deserve their own post, but because they're so integral into your campaign development, I'm going to keep talking about them as we keep moving forward. Keywords, be they broad, phrase or exact match, are all set at the individual ad group level. Negative keywords can be entered at the ad group level also, but they can be entered at the campaign level too which is a big time saver.

There are a couple of different directions you can go about getting to the 'campaign negatives' view. Either from the Tools menu (on the Campaign Management navigation) or from the top of each campaign you'll find a text link 44 campaign negative keyword(s): Edit . Use either method, and you'll find a window where you can manually type in the negatives


When manually entering your negatives, remember they don't have to be broad match, they can be "phrase match" and [exact match] also:

  • -Negative Broad Match type a minus symbol before the term (or combination of words)
  • -"Negative Phrase Match" type a minus symbol before the term and quotes at the beginning and end of any term (or combination of words)
  • -[Negative Exact Match] type a minus symbol before the term and square bracket at the beginning and end of any term (or combination of words)

I hope that this brief guide helps you set your match types. Managing your keyword match types is going to be an ongoing task. You may find that a long tail broad match term has a very low click through rate, and shorter tail broad match terms get clicked so often that they're costing an arm and a leg (and NOT giving you a positive ROI. When that's happening, jump in and start saving yourself the money. Use match types. Use negative keywords. And don't have a "set it and forget it" mentality about your PPC accounts. Pay attention, keep your hands in there and always be making changes.

October 30, 2008

Diana Adams is a Pay-Per-Click Manager, SEO Specialist and all around "get-er-done" authority. Diana helps clients achieve high ROI with their PPC campaigns by providing detail oriented attention to their Pay-Per-Click ad management.

Outside the office, Diana enjoys rock climbing, skiing, hiking and camping, and has tried river kayaking. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, tying the knot 20 years later. They have five (nearly) grown children.


Always exact match. And when I want to test search volumes for new terms, I use phrase match and paying attention so I won't burn my budget fast ;)

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Search Engine Guide > Diana Adams > Where Do You Set AdWords Match Types?