Finding the Perfect Match Type

Anjali McKenzie, Former UX Researcher

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

When creating keyword campaigns in Google AdWords I’ve always believed that using all three match types – exact, phrase, and match – for a single keyword would negatively affect your campaign. I thought that with this setup your own keywords would be competing against each other. I realized, however, that my beliefs had no solid foundation.

After reading a number of discussions such as this one on Search Engine Roundtable I came to the conclusion that I may have been misguided in my original beliefs.  Turns out it is common, and may even be beneficial to use multiple match types for the same keyword, if done correctly. Many claim that the reason Google discourages the use of the same keyword with multiple match types (as stated in an email from Google to member bcc1234 in this Webmaster World thread) is to help cut down the total number of keywords in their system. If users started to double or triple keyword lists by using multiple match types it would significantly increase the load on Google’s system and cause potential scalability issues.

So how exactly should you go about using multiple match types for a single keyword? The general consensus says to start with multiple match types for a single keyword and then fine-tune your lists based on performance. It is important to create separate ad groups for each match type because this will allow you to track performance more effectively.  Once you get a general idea of how each keyword /match type combination is performing you can weed out match types that are not working, add in negative keywords to filter out irrelevant searches, and increase bids for those match types that are working.  In some cases you may find that all having all match types works well.

I decided to implement these recommendations in some of the campaigns we manage. In a few weeks I will let you know if I’ve found my perfect (keyword) match type.  In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for, or warnings against, using multiple match types please leave a comment!

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