About keyword matching options – Google Ads match type

Broad match (default match type)

Broad match shows ads if a keyword (or any variations like misspellings, synonyms, or related searches) are included in a user’s search terms.

Broad match modifier

Starting in February 2021, phrase match will begin to incorporate behaviors of broad match modifier (BMM) to simplify keywords. With this change, both phrase and broad match modifier keywords will have the same matching behavior and may show ads on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. Read more about it here

Very important is that the updated phrase match will continue to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning.

For example, the phrase match keyword “moving services NYC to Boston.” will continue to cover searches like “affordable moving services NYC to Boston.”

It will also cover searches that traditionally only matched under broad match modifier, such as “NYC corporate moving services to Boston.”

But be careful, Phrase match won’t show ads for searches where the direction is reversed, for example, “Boston to New York City”.

Read more here about this Google Ads change.

Until February 2021

Adding a + sign in front of a keyword turns it into a broad match modifier.
The ad will appear only if the keyword or its close variations are in any part of the search terms.

Difference between Broad match and Broad match modifier?

Broad match modifiers only allow for close variations of keywords, while broad match allows for any variation of the keyword to appear in the search term.

Phrase match

Placing quotation marks around the keywords turns them into phrase-match keywords.
In “Phrase match” the ad appear only if the keywords within the quotation marks or close variations of them match a user’s search term.

Difference between Broad match modifier and Phrase match?

In the “Phrase match” can’t be any extra words between the user’s search terms, but similar since extra words can appear before or after the phrase match. Words are allowed to come before or after the phrase.

Exact match

To use an exact match, place brackets around the keywords.
The ad will only be shown if the search means the same thing as your keyword. It may include close variations of your keyword, like misspellings, plurals, and synonyms.
Google announced another change to what are considered close variants of an exact match keyword to include variations that share the same meaning as the keyword, including implied words and paraphrases.

Difference between Exact match and Phrase match?

The difference between “Exact match” and “Phrase match” is that can’t be any extra words before or after the search terms.
The exact match will not match the searches that contain additional concepts or details that are not present in the original keyword.
Exact match is very good to fit only very specific user searches. For example, If your exact match keyword is [running shoes], next triggers will show your ad:

  • Running shoe
  • running trainers
  • shoes for running

Negative keywords

Adding a minus sign in front of the keyword makes it a negative keyword. This means that ads won’t be shown if someone includes that negative keyword in their search.


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