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Google AdWords Keyword Selection Tips

How to use keyword matches correctly and monitor keywords results

In our previous post  on  Selecting the best keywords for Google AdWords campaign  we went through the 5 steps of building the best keywords list for your business and how negative keywords can help you improve your ads. Another tool that will increase your ROI is “Keyword matches”.

Keyword matches

Keyword match types give you more control over who sees your ads. By default, Google AdWords use the broad match type for all keywords. You can choose the match type for every keyword if you go to the campaign or ad group -> Keywords tab -> and click on the keyword. A list of the match types will appear and you can choose from the options Broad match, Exact match, and Phrase match.

    • Broad match

    This match means that all searches which include your keyword (in any order or combination) might display your ad. These broad-matched keywords reach a wide audience because your ad may appear even if other words are included in the search query, if the query is similar to your keyword (including plurals and synonyms), or if terms in the query are not in the same order as your keyword phrase. Broader matching gives you more visibility, but you’ll have higher costs – because they tend to generate more clicks.

    • Exact match

    This option narrows the reach of your ads by showing them to users that use the exact phrase in their search query – without any extra words before, between or after. Remember that keywords aren’t case-sensitive – they’re matched without regard to upper- or lower-case letters. This is the most precise method of targeting your keywords.

    • Phrase match

    The phrase match narrows the reach of your ads by requiring the words to appear in the exact same order as you entered them. This prevents your ads from being shown on irrelevant queries which include variations of your keyword.

    Narrower matching options tend to give you fewer clicks and a lower budget requirement. They’re more targeted, but if you want to reach a broader audience you have to use broad match keywords. Don’t forget to monitor their performance regularly to make sure they’re performing well.

    There is another, more sophisticated way to set the match of your keywords – when creating your ad group. If you just write the word, this means it’ll be shown with broad match – in related searches, in relevant variations, and in search queries with synonyms. For example, organic food shop. If you add “+” before the keyword, your ad will be shown on searches with close variations to the word, but not synonyms, and in related searches. For example, +organic +food +shop. Exact matching can be written this way: [organic food shop], and phrase matching: “organic food shop”. You can use negative matching with “-“ placed before the keyword, so that your ads won’t appear in search queries that include the term. For example, –junk food.

    The most sophisticated form of keyword matching is the embedded match. It allows you to stop your ad from appearing in relation to a certain phrase or exact match. If you’re selling Harry Potter accessories, you can use an embedded match with negative and exact matches on Harry Potter: –[Harry Potter]. This means that your ad will be shown in search queries for Harry Potter glasses or Harry Potter books, but not for the exact match of Harry Potter (which will be irrelevant and will cost you a lot of money).

    Monitoring your keywords

    Another important thing about keywords is their regular monitoring. Review and adjust your list constantly, because this will help you achieve better results with your campaigns. The first important thing is to check the CTR of your ads – if they don’t get a decent CTR, they won’t be shown in searches. If you have this problem, review your keywords list and consider using some matching option – this will fine-tune your campaign and you’ll get a higher CTR.

    You can see the indicators which show how well your keywords are performing in your Campaigns and Ad group tabs. The main two parameters are:

    • Quality score

    The Quality score estimates how relevant your keywords are to the user that sees your ad. Quality score is between 1 and 10. A high Quality score (between 7 and 10) means that your keyword is relevant to people looking at it. A low Quality score (between 1 and 4) shows that your keywords and ads are irrelevant. The higher your Quality score, the lower your CPC will be. So monitor the Quality scores of your keywords and try to exclude words with a low Quality score and replace them with something else which is more relevant. You can see the Quality score in your Keywords tab. Add the column if you don’t see it: Columns – > Customize columns -> Add the Quality score column.

    • Keyword analysis field

    This is your Keyword tab. Under the Status column you have details for every keyword – if you use your mouse to go through the bubble, you’ll see even more information, including the Quality score. You’ll see if your ad is not showing and why, so that you can change it. Remove keywords that are not performing well – they waste your money.

    The performance of your Google AdWords campaign will be better if you include your keywords in your ad text. This way every user will see that your ad is related to their search. And if the content of your landing page is directly related to the keywords you’re targeting, then most users will be interested in staying on your landing page and may become your customers. Don’t forget to use all the functions that Google AdWords offers you, so that you target your keywords in the best way, and monitor them regularly – this will save you money and increase your ROI.


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About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.
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