Phrase match is a keyword match type option offered by Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords. In this tutorial, you’ll learn:
Phrase match is a keyword matching option whereby Google matches your ad only against keywords that include a phrase you designate. Google defines the phrase matching option as:
Phrase Match – If you enter your keyword in quotation marks, as in “tennis shoes,” your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches on the phrase tennis shoes, in this order, and possibly with other terms before or after the phrase. For example, your ad could appear for the query red tennis shoes but not for shoes for tennis, tennis shoe, or tennis sneakers. Phrase match is more targeted than broad match, but more flexible than exact match.
So, working off of the above tennis shoes analogy, creating a phrase match for “tennis shoes” would result in the following potential matches:
Note: In 2014, Google introduced “close variants.” This change allows your ads to match to keyword search strings that don’t exactly match your defined phrase. For example, Google may change the order of the words in the phrase or include a plural or synonym if it deems the search in question to be close enough to your phrase.
So why is all this important?
Because sometimes Google’s broad match and expanded broad match are too broad, and at the same time their exact matching option is somewhat limiting.
Broad match will show your ads against all kinds of queries. Let’s take a look at some of the queries Google’s keyword research tool considers “related” to this phrase:
Any of these keywords could be considered irrelevant for my landing page about tennis shoes.
I certainly don’t want to be sending people looking for dress shoes or specifically for “basketball shoes” to a page about my tennis shoes!
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The exact matching option will show your ad against only the phrase “tennis shoes”. But by matching only to tennis shoes, I’m missing out on a LOT of traffic. In fact, I’m cutting off what’s known as the “long tail of search“.
I won’t see phrases like:
These are great phrases! “Buy tennis shoes” might be one of my most conversion-friendly terms! And phrase match is certainly a more efficient means of targeting all of those different variations than trying to think of and type them all out by hand (there could thousands or even millions of useful variations).
Not exactly. With phrase match, you’re still a victim to the same short comings you experienced with broad and exact match:
So what’s the answer? How should I proceed?
Well, really, what I want to do is find all the different variations I should be bidding on, and at the same time make sure that I’m not bidding on things that don’t make sense for my offering.
The answer here is a suite of tools that allows me to:
This would mean that I could simultaneously: