Keyword Matching: User Guide

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Keywords are known to be the core of Google Ads search network. Keywords are needed to intercept user queries and activate ads. The problem we often face is that of being able to control the search terms that are activated by the keywords chosen for our advertising campaigns. Often, going to check the "Search Terms" section in the platform, it happens to discover that an ad has been activated for a query that had little to do with keywords. This problem can be overcome, thanks to the use of different types of keyword matches you can make your campaigns on Google Ads very specific. There are 5 types of matches:
  • Generic matching
  • Modified generic correspondence e.g. +keyword
  • Correspondence to phrase e.g. "keyword".
  • Exact match Es. [keyword]
  • Reverse correspondence
Every correspondence has its own characteristic, and with this article we are going to address them all.

Generic Correspondence

Generic correspondence is the one that is usually used, unwittingly, by most advertisers, especially those who are less experienced. Only in a few limited cases those who have more experience with the Google Ads platform use this type of correspondence. Analysing its characteristics it will be easy to understand why this statement. In the Official Guide of Google ADS the generic correspondence is defined as follows: "Generic matching causes a keyword to trigger the publication of your ad every time someone searches for that phrase, similar phrases, singular or plural forms, words with spelling mistakes, synonyms, words with similar root (e.g. floor and paving), related searches, and other relevant variants". The example in the guide is that of the keyword "hats" in this case the ad linked to this keyword could be activated for "hat", "sunglasses" or even "caps". If you read this example automatically, you might think that the similar terms are actually consistent and therefore work well. Bearing in mind, however, that the goal of every advertiser is to have full control over campaigns, with this type of correspondence control is lost. This is because generic correspondence means that ads are also activated for "relevant variants" where, however, the relevance is given by the data available to Google but which does not necessarily coincide with the actual relevance with the products you are trying to advertise. Bearing in mind that the goal is to have full control of the campaigns so that they can then be optimised in the best way, the ideal is to use the matches that will be presented below.

Modified Generic Correspondence

The modified generic correspondence, as can be seen from the name itself, is the type of correspondence most similar to generic but with a peculiarity, in this case the keywords that are chosen will be preceded by the + sign. So, considering the example of hats, in this case when inserting the keyword inside a group of ads instead of inserting "hats" we will insert "+hats". What changes? With the "+" we are explicitly dictating a necessary condition for Google ADS, we are telling him that in the search terms there must be the word "hats", which can in any case be considered in its variants "singular and plural" considering any typing errors, but the ad can not be activated for terms "similar". The best application is when the keyword is composed of several words. We have an e-commerce that sells exclusively women's heeled shoes. By entering the keyword in generic modified "+shoe + heel +woman" you are fixing these three words. The ad will be activated for all those queries within which there are these three words, even in random order. An example query could be "Shop for women's 12-heeled shoes". Using this type of match so you will always have quite pertinent queries, and above all you will be able to extrapolate new, more specific queries to focus on. Using this type of matching, as in the case of phrase matching and exact matching, will bring an increase in CTRs precisely because user queries will be more relevant with the keywords chosen and consequently with the ads created on those keywords.

Phrase Correspondence

When our keyword is inside the apexes as in "women's heeled shoes" we find ourselves in front of the sentence correspondence. In this case the ads are only activated when words are added before or after our keyword. Taking for example the Keyword just mentioned, the ads will be activated for queries of the type:
  • best women's heeled shoes online
  • where to buy women's heeled shoes in Rome
Or for variants similar to keyword (typing errors; singular and plural)
  • best heeled shoe donates online
  • where to buy a woman taco shoe in Rome
Ads will not activate when a query modifies the body of the keyword. Example:
  • best women's high heeled shoes online
  • where to buy red women's heeled shoes in Rome

Exact Correspondence

The exact correspondence is characterised by square brackets. After choosing the keyword to use, simply insert it in the platform between the When our keyword is within two square brackets as in [4 star hotel rome]. In this case our ads will be activated only if the search query matches our keyword, i.e. "hotel roma 4 stars".

Reverse Matching

or keywords with a negative function. Their job is to make Google understand when not to make our ad appear. Let's take as an example the keyword "hotel roma 4 stars" and assume that our hotel is without a swimming pool. This implies that search queries containing the word "pool" do not interest us. Simply enter the word "pool" in the reverse keywords and our ad will only be published for queries that do not contain the word "pool". One thing to point out is that, for the inverse keywords, the modified generic correspondence (with the + sign) does not count, but all the others are important; in fact, the basic operation is the same.

Roberto Paolucci

SEO Specialist

Anno 1990. Mi sono laureato in Economia Aziendale presso l’Università degli Studi della Tuscia. Prima SEO e sviluppatore freelancer, poi presso la concessionaria d’auto “Centro Auto VT”, le mie esperienze lavorative hanno spaziato in differenti settori. Il mio interesse nel Digital Marketing inizia grazie ad alcuni corsi professionali come PHP e Database relazioni MySQL, programmazione Wordpress e partecipando a numerosi convegni e workshop di settore. In ByTek sono SEO Specialist e utilizzo ogni giorno strumenti di Web Analytics. Running e mountainbike nel tempo libero.

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