What is Keyword Matching?

AdWords attempts match your keywords with searches in Google and occasionally (sometimes often actually!) your ads will appear for search terms you really don’t want.
The dilemma is that you don’t readily get to see those mismatches and could easily assume that everything is OK fine, so checking your Search Term Report regularly is a key maintenance activity.

Login and go to a keyword view; Click the Dimensions tab and use the View dropdown (extreme left) and scroll down and select Search Terms
You will discover a whole new world of search terms which typically differ markedly from your configured keywords

This is where Keyword Matching comes into play:

Broad match indicates AdWords will match anything similar to your keywords in any order

Modified broad match AdWords will match the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order

Phrase match  AdWords will match a search includes your keywords plus additional terms

Exact match  indicates AdWords will only match your exact keywords

Negative match AdWords will not match searches if they contain your negative keyword

This is described and illustrated here with examples of how it works

Setting up Keyword Matching can be complex, so reviewing your Search Term Report is a useful way of determining if you are getting the results you want

How does AdWords work?

Pay per Click (PPC) advertising, dominated by Google’s AdWords, is an important online marketing medium.  AdWords is an online auction where you show an advertisement to people searching for your product/services. You only pay if they click on your ad.


You bid to gain visibility
Generally the more you bid; the greater your ad’s visibility
You beat your competitors by out-bidding them


Ad exposure is proportional to your total (daily) budget
Increase your (daily) budget to be seen more

Advantages of PPC

PPC is fabulous for

  • simple, short lead time online exposure.
    Your business can achieve almost instant exposure for a managed investment.
  • short term sales campaigning and is important for services that clients need right now.
    i.e. short lead time sales like repairs etc

PPC also avoids the vagaries of Google SEO.
Google is actively stopping traditional SEO techniques so being ranked organically is becoming less reliable.

Disadvantages of PPC

The ongoing expense. Turn off your ads and the phone stops ringing.
For me its like leasing – you never own it

Bid prices creep up over time with:

  • Competition who keep increasing their bids.
  • New competitors bidding for exposure as well.

In my view the greatest concern with PPC is that your business can become locked into a one dimensional online marketing program PPC.
Shut down your PPC campaign you don’t have any sales leads. Arrggh!

What is a Negative Keyword ?

Communicating with AdWords about the particular searches you want your ads to match with can be complex, and if you get it wrong you can end up with a lot of wasted clicks and money with no leads!

Negative keywords is one of a series of Keyword Matching Options AdWords provides to specifically identify your desired searches. These can be applied in a Boolean style to ensure  AdWords knows exactly which searches you want to target. Negative keywords can also be applied to individual AdGroups or across an entire Campaign

If you want to displays your ads when someone searches for  widget but not for searches on purple widget then a negative keyword of purple will achieve this by preventing searches with purple in them to match your ads.

If however you want some searches containing purple to be matched then it gets a little more challenging and I’d suggest speak to me about your requirements

What is a Search Term vs a Keyword?

I don’t understand why the keywords I’ve added my campaign are different  from the ones in the Search Term Report

AdWords will match words it thinks are similar and occasionally (in fact often) gets it wrong. Be aware that there’s two kinds of ‘keywords’ inside AdWords:

  • Keywords: The ones you want to target.
    These are the terms you’ve added into your campaign.
  • Search Terms: These are the actual searches that have triggered your ads to be displayed.
    These are displayed as follows: Dimensions tab | View dropdown | Search Terms

Tuning Tip: Check your Search Terms regularly and add negative keywords to prevent your ads from displaying for these terms again and again.

Tuning Tip: Using keyword matching options to ensure you target the specific terms you need