All About Phrase Match | Search Scientists

Day 9 of 100 Days of AdWords Help: All About Phrase Match

Welcome to day 9 of our “100 Days of AdWords Help” Series. If you’ve been tuning in, we’ve been analyzing the types of keywords you’ll see when you start building and optimizing your AdWords account.

Recap: Match Types

Recently, I wrote about how the difference between keywords you bid on and the actual search queries can mean life or death for your AdWords account. I then explained how match types bridge this gap. Proper control of match types are going to be vitally important moving forward, and anyone running AdWords have match type mastery.

What is Phrase Match?

Thankfully, Google made the definitions of these words easy and straight forward. Understanding how to utilize them for a profitable account is another story. Simply put, a phrase match keyword can trigger any search query that has the keyword in a phrase. For example:
  • Phrase match keyword: ‘men’s watches’ can trigger the following queries: ‘men’s watches,’ ‘men’s watches that are waterproof,’ ‘men’s watches for diving,’ ‘best men’s watches,’ ‘men’s watches free giveaway,’ ‘fancy men’s watches’
Compared to exact match, you can see how much many more options of types of queries you can appear for with phrase match. For comparison, let’s see what kinds of searches we can appear for in exact match:
  • Exact match keyword: ‘men’s watches’ can trigger the following queries: ‘men’s watches’ Don’t forget keywords can also trigger variants, including plurals and misspellings: ‘men’s watch’ ‘men watch’ ‘men’s waches’

Why Use Phrase Match

Phrase match is a fantastic way to discover new searches that your customers are using to find your business. For example, let’s say you were a local landscape business. You want to capture all the searches your customers are using to find your business. For example:
  • Town + landscaping
  • landscaping + town
  • landscaping + zip code
  • landscaping + area code
  • landscaping + county
It would be difficult to capture every single zip code in your geographic radius in an AdWords campaign. With exact match and phrase match acting together, you’ll ensure that you have a strong core of keywords (exact match), and visibility when customers search your core keyword’s phrases. Since you cannot predict what kind of phrases people will use, phrase match helps capture that visibility. For example, perhaps one of your potential customers will search: “landscaping for a backyard patio good for entertaining guests in September.” Pretty long keyword, right? Without phrase match, you’d never be able to sell to this customer. Aim to make about 20% of your account phrase match keywords. So far, the recommended makeup is:
  • 50-70% Exact Match (when you are starting out, use more exact matches to keep your costs low)
  • 20-35% Phrase Match – the less exact matches you use, the more phrase matches you should use.
Why you shouldn’t have 100% phrase match keywords: When doing anything in online marketing, exercise caution and control over discoverability. Meaning, while technically an account that is all phrase match could be profitable, it will never be the most profitable it can be. Why? Because inevitably, some phrases you appear for will not be suitable for your business. In later days of AdWords help, we’ll understand how to investigate what phrases your ads are being triggered for, and how to balance the control of exact match, and the discovery of phrase match.

How to Select Phrase Match

When you’re inside your AdWords account, you’ll notice some keywords wrapped in quotation marks. These are used to indicate phrase matches. For example:
  • “CPA Miami”
  • “Dog trainer Manhattan”
If you are using the web interface to upload a lot of phrase matches at once, you’ll want to use a tool that will rapidly surround your keywords with quotes. A quick Google search for “adwords keyword wrapper” will give you plenty of options to choose from. For advanced users using AdWords editors, you’ll want to have your keyword column, and your match type column, as shown below.
phrase match in adwords editor
Keyword in your first column, Match type in your second column

Phrase Match Keywords: Final Word

No campaign is complete without the addition of some well placed phrase match keywords. Phrase matches will open up your campaign to the different ways people communicate their questions to Google. Some people may search “men’s watches,” other may search “best men’s watches,” and others may search “men’s watches 2016.” The amount of search queries people may make are endless, and by incorporating Phrase Matches into your AdWords campaign, you can reach a larger audience looking for your business.

This post is part of a series: ‘100 Days of AdWords Help’.

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Michael Erickson

Michael Erickson

Emailing my clients and telling them I helped increase their return on ad spend by 300% never gets old. I love rising above the technical jargon and providing your business with online marketing momentum to reach new heights. Enthusiast for all things science, surfing, and Search Scientists.

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