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Phrase Match - Learn More About the Phrase Matching Option

Phrase match is a matching option offered by Google AdWords. In this tutorial, you'll learn:

  • How phrase match works.
  • Why it's important to you and to your PPC campaign.
  • And how best to utilize the phrase matching option.

 

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So What is Phrase Match, Anyway?

Basically, phrase match is a keyword matching option whereby Google AdWords 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:

Queries My Ad Shows Against:

  • tennis shoes
  • best tennis shoes
  • tennis shoes that look nice

Queries My Ad Won't Show Against:

  • shoes tennis
  • tennis shoe
  • tennis sneakers

The importance of the phrase matching option

So why is 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:

Phrase match can help to limit your ad to more relevant queries, unlike some of those shown here.

Any of these keywords could be considered irrelvant 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!

So Why is Phrase Match Better than Exact Match?

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:

  • buy tennis shoes
  • best tennis shoes
  • nike tennis shoes

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).

So I Should Just Use Phrase Match then, Right?

Not exactly. With phrase match, you're still a victim to the same short comings you experienced with broad and exact match:

  • Paying for bad clicks - My ad may still match against all kinds of bad keywords. If I sell high-end tennis shoes, my ad may be displayed against "cheap tennis shoes" or "tennis shoes that aren't very good" or other keywords I don't want my ad to show against.
  • Missing traffic opportunities - While phrase match is better than exact match, I'm still missing out on a lot of great traffic: I don't have an ad showing for "tennis shoe", or "buy shoes for tennis", or any number of other queries that make sense for me and my business.

A Phrase Match Alternative: Keyword Discovery and Negative Keywords

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:

  • Keep broad match on - This way I can discover new variations of the keywords I'm bidding on. In fact, it should really allow me to record all these variations with a Web analytics portion, so that I can bid on more specific keywords and be more relevant (raising my Quality Score and click-through rates).
  • Discover negative keyword opportunities - The negative keyword matching option allows me to keep my ad from showing against various queries. This is a powerful weapon against the sort of irrelevant traffic we discussed above.

 This would mean that I could simultaneously:

  • Reach the audience I want my ad in front of
  • Avoid spending money on uninterested clicks

The WordStream Matching Option

This is precisely what WordStream does. The software offers you:

This allows you to drive down costs on targeted clicks without having to either give up traffic or pay for traffic you don't want.

If you're interested in learning more about WordStream's pay-per-click solutions, you should:

 

 
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