Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Match Types

Google Ads PPC Management
Monday, June 6, 2022 | Google Ads

Google keyword match types ensure that the money you spend on your Google advertising campaigns is well spent, ensuring that you are not wasting money attracting unqualified traffic that is unlikely to do business with you.

There are four different types of keyword match in Google Ads: loose match, phrase match, exact match, and negative match. Contact us for best and affordable full services PPC management.

Keyword match types

  1. Free Match
  2. A loose keyword match occurs when your ads appear in search results for queries related to the meaning of your keywords, but not necessarily containing the exact terms. It is the default type for Google Ads and works best with smart bids. The syntax is to list your keyword.

    If your keyword is iphone case, your ad could appear for apple phone case and best iphone case for kids and phone case.

    Loose keyword matching helps you reach a wide audience, but your visitors are not refined because the terms they are searching for are related to your keyword. However, to ensure traffic is related, Google also takes into account the user’s search activity, the content on your landing page, and other keywords in your ad set.

  3. Phrase matching
  4. Phrase Match will show your ads in queries that have the same meaning as your keyword or more specific forms of your keyword. Words can be added before or after the keyword, but not between. The syntax is to enclose the target word in quotation marks, for example “keyword”.

    If your keyword in the phrase match is “iPhone case”, you can appear in the search queries for buying iPhone case, blue iPhone case, selling iPhone case.

    Using Phrase Match will show your ads to a smaller audience, but only show on searches that include what your ad is for, so your audience is more precise. Please note that modified free match was discontinued in 2021 and its parameters were added to the phrase match criteria.

    Free Match vs. phrase match

    The key difference between broad and phrase is that broad matches reach a smaller audience, but the traffic is more qualified for what you have to offer, while broad matches reach a wider audience, but searchers aren’t necessarily looking for exactly what you’re selling.

    So if your search query is iPhone and you use the loose match type, your ad would show if a user searched for iPhone case, Apple phone case, or iPhone 11 case, but if you used phrase match, your ad would only appear on iPhone case.

  5. Exact match
  6. Exact match is the opposite of loose match, and your ads only show for queries with the same exact meaning or intent of your keyword. This can include singular or plural forms, typos, abbreviations and diacritical marks.

    With this type, you will get more sophisticated visitors to your website, but you will have less reach. The syntax is to enclose the keyword in square brackets, so [keyword].

    If your keyword is [iPhone case], your ad will appear in searches for iPhone cases, iPhone cases, and iPhone cases.

    Reach out to us for Google ads PPC management.


Use keyword match types to maximize your PPC ad ROI. Using the right type of keyword match ensures that the money you spend on Google ad campaigns helps you drive the right type of traffic, which is more likely to attract a new customer, drive sales and maximize your ROI.

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