About the Search Advertising

When you advertise alongside search results on the Google Search Network, you select keywords to help target your ads to people searching for related terms. You can also choose to show your ads at certain times of day, and specify a location and language. Search ads appear next to Google search results when people look for products and services you offer. And, you only pay when people engage with your ad, like by visiting your website or calling your business.

On PCs, tablets, and smartphones, if the words people type into Google match your keywords, your ad can appear above the search results. You only pay when someone engages with your ad, like by visiting your website or calling your business. With millions of searches per day on Google, you can help make sure your customers notice your brand, consider your offerings, and take action.

Within search ads, there are many different types of keyword matching you can use. Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad. So you could use broad match to show your ad to a wide audience or you could use exact match to hone in on specific groups of customers.

In general, the broader the match type, the more traffic potential that keyword will have, since your ads may be triggered more often. Conversely, a narrower match type means that your ads may show less often—but when they do, they’re likely to be more related to someone’s search.

Understanding these differences can help you to choose the right options and improve your return on investment.

We typically recommend starting with broad match to maximize the potential for your ads to show on relevant searches. You can also use the search terms report to monitor which keyword variations triggered your ads

Each match type can trigger your ad to show for a customer’s search in different ways. Next, learn a little bit more about each type.

Broad match

Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. So if your keyword is “women’s hats,” someone searching for “buy ladies hats” might see your ad.

  • Example keyword: women’s hats
  • Example search: buy ladies hats

Broad match modifier

Add a plus sign (for example, +keyword) to modify a broad match keyword. Ads may show on searches that include modified broad match keywords (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.

  • Symbol: Plus sign, for example +keyword
  • Example keyword: +women’s +hats
  • Example search: hats for women

Phrase match

Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way.

  • Symbol: keyword
  • Example keyword: women’s hats
  • Example search: buy women’s hats

Exact match

Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search).

  • Symbol: [keyword]
  • Example keyword: [women’s hats]
  • Example search: hats for women
Negative match

Ads may show on searches without the term. So, if you’re a hat company but you don’t sell baseball hats, you could add “baseball hats” as a negative keyword so that your ads don’t show for people searching for baseball hats.

  • Symbol: keyword
  • Example keyword: baseball hats
  • Example search: women’s hats

NOTE: In this example, ads will show on searches for “women’s hats” but not on searches for “baseball hats”.

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