When creating a new campaign in Google Ads, getting the keywords right can be a balancing act.
Broad match can mean your ads are shown to people that aren’t interested in your product or service, while exact match may result in your ads not reaching enough people.
Thankfully, there is a way that you can modify your keywords, without wasting ad spend – phrase match.
What is Google phrase match?
Phrase match is a keyword matching option in Google Ads. With phrase match, Google will serve your ad when a user types in a phrase you designate.
To use phrase match, put quote marks around the keyword you want to use, for example, “green dress.”
When you use “green dress” as a phrase match, Google will show your ad if a user types words before or afterwards. For example:
· Women’s green dress
· Green dress size 14
· Where can I find a green dress for a wedding?
More information about phrase match and other keyword matching options
Close matches and variants
In the past with phrase match, it used to be the case that Google would only serve your ad when your exact phrase was used. Nowadays, Google uses close variants. This means that Google may change the order of words in a phrase or accept similar sounding words.
In 2021, Google discontinued broad match keywords and integrated the functionality into phrase match, meaning that Google may also insert words in between your phrase.
For example, if you use “green dress”, Google may include phrases including “green dresses”, “chartreuse dress” or “green maxi dress”.
Why use phrase match?
Phrase match can be an effective way of expanding the number of impressions and clicks you receive. You have more control over your keywords than you would with broad match, but still have a little bit of flexibility.
Phrase match can also be great for discovering new keywords that you may not have considered. If you find that particular search terms are cropping up regularly, you can consider setting them up as keywords in their own right or using them on your website.
Preventing bad clicks
Phrase match does have its disadvantages. There is the risk that your ad may still appear for specific search terms. Going back to the “green dress” example, your ad could come up for “cheap green dresses”, which may not be a keyword you want to associate with your brand.
If there are words that you don’t want to be linked with your phrase match keyword, you can use negative match. This will filter out the keywords you don’t want to use at either account, campaign or ad group level.
Keep checking your account on a regular basis so you can apply negative keywords if required.
More information about negative keywordsHow will you use phrase match to grow your Google Ads account and improve your return on investment?