Phrase Matching Options and Negative Keywords

How do you mix up your phrase matching, exact matching and broad matching in your Google Adwords campaigns? Do you use negative keywords? Here's what we do
14 Aug, 2005

A network contact of mine recently described the following problem and asked what I might suggest…

For his Adwords campaign, he chose three keywords (let’s say they were “knitted”, “jumper” and “cardigan”). He selected phrase matching, where the keywords or keyword phrase is enclosed in quotes and the advert gets displayed if the searcher inputs a phrase that includes the keyword. He had hoped that this meant the ad would appear when someone typed in “knitted jumper” or “knitted cardigan”, but what actually happened is that the ad showed up whenever someone searched on a phrase including any one of the search words. So although they got some clicks that were spot on, they also got clicks from people who searched for things like “babies blue lycra cardigan” or “bon jovi knitted T-shirts”, which he found annoying.

American Football players opposing each otherMy response was as follows…

You can mix Phrase Match, Broad Match, and Exact Match keywords in the same ad group. For instance, you could have the keyword “knitted jumper” plus one for [knitted jumper] and another for knitted jumper. The former would display your advert whenever a user typed in a search phrase that contained the term knitted jumper – so a search phrase such as ‘purchasing a knitted jumper online’ would show your advert, whereas it would not get shown for ‘buying a jumper that is knitted’. The second keyword [jumper] would only trigger an advert when the user typed in this exact phrase (with no additional words). The final keyword would trigger an advert whenever one or both of the words ‘knitted’ and ‘jumper’ were searched for (in any order) – so the phrase ‘looking for a knitted cardigan or jumper’ would trigger the advert. The options for keyword matching get very complex – my advert groups generally have dozens or even hundreds of keywords.

Do you use negative keywords? If you did, then you might prevent some of the annoying clicks. For example, if you added a keyword such as -baby and another -babies none of your adverts would display if the user typed in the word baby or babies as part of their search phrase. Useful if you don’t sell baby clothes. Equally, you could use lycra and t-shirt as negative keywords. Just add them to your keyword list.

Find out more about keyword matching options at the Google Help Center


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