Google Ads – Keyword Match Types

Do you want to improve your Google Ads account efficiency? If the answer is yes – One area to look at is the keyword match types.

There are five Google Ads keyword match types:

Keyword Match Types

Understanding and utilizing keyword match types accurately can significantly improve CTR & CRO. It can reduce invalid or irrelevant clicks saving marketing budget and stay relevant.

In this blog post, I am going to explain the different types of keyword match types Google Ads provides, how to use it with examples.

Broad Match


  • Default matching option
  • Reaches the widest audience
  • Ads are eligible to appear whenever a user searches any word in your key phrase.
  • Allows misspellings and synonyms
  • Searches including misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations of the keyword.
  • allows the ad to show when the keyword is present anywhere within the search query


  • Wide reach means a higher number of clicks
  • Might be driving irrelevant clicks hence affecting campaign ROI
  • One of the 5 default AdWords settings

Broad Match Symbol

Broad Match has no symbol. It’s the regular keyword with nothing around it.

Google Ads – Keyword Match Types – Explained.

Broad Match Modifier

  • Provides Broad Match capabilities
  • Allows to be more restrictive around the specific queries
  • Ads will appear for searches that include your keyword phrase in the correct order
  • The query can be in any order, but that one word needs to exist in it somewhere. 
  • Its denoted by ‘+’ to the specific word in your keyword phrase
  • Searches containing the modified term in the keyword or close variations in any order


if you use a Broad Match Modifier on the keyword “ +women’s hats”, Google can show your ad when a user searches for “women’s fedoras”, “hats for women”, or “women’s clothing”, but will not show your ad when a user searches for “men’s hats”.

Broad Match Modifier Symbol

Broad Match Modifier symbol is a + sign before the keyword as shown in the example below.

Broad Match Modifier Symbol = +broad +match + modifier

Phrase Match

  • Balance of control
  • Phrase match keywords must be present in the search query in the same order as mentioned by you
  • Denoted in quotes “ “
  • Ad will only appear when a user searches for your exact keyword phrase, in its exact order but maybe a word in the beginning and after.
  • Searches contain the keyword phrase and close variations in that order


If you use the keyword “women’s hats” in Phrase Match, your ads are eligible to show for users searching for “red women’s hats”, “women’s hats for weddings”, but not for “women’s blue hats” or “hats for women”. We like using Phrase Match on two-word keyword phrases

Phrase Match Symbol

Phrase Match Symbol “phrase match “

Exact Match

Most restrictive match type option in Google Ads

Searches contain the exact keyword term or a close variation of that exact keyword term in that order. 

Exact Match Symbol

Exact Match Symbol [exact match]

Google Ads Keyword Match Types

Negative Match

Choosing what NOT to target can be just as important as choosing what to target. Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for search queries that have nothing to do with your brand.

Now there are three types of negative keywords:

  • Negative Broad Match
  • Negative Phrase Match 
  • Negative Exact Match

Keyword Match Types Symbols

  • Broad Match Symbol
  • Broad Match Modifier Symbol = +broad +match + modifier
  • Phrase Match Symbol “phrase match “
  • Exact Match Symbol [exact match]


A couple of quick ways to remember potential search volume by match type:

  • Broad = Greatest impressions/lowest CTR
  • Phrase = Lower impressions/higher CTR
  • Exact = Lowest impressions/highest CTR

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