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The Four Types of Keywords For Paid Search

Shreoshe Ghosh

August 5, 2022

Whether you are just starting with paid marketing or a seasoned search engine marketing professional, understanding the different types of keywords in paid marketing is one of the fundamental learnings in this field. 

Paid marketing plays a vital role in bringing revenue for your business. With paid marketing efforts like PPC advertising, you can increase your brand visibility, reach out to your target audience, get more qualified leads for your business and make better profits. 

Generally speaking, the type of keywords used in PPC marketing varies significantly from those used in SEO. In search engine optimization, you must constantly optimize your keywords to get the desired results organically. However, in PPC marketing, you are in more control over the keywords used in paid searches.

Before diving into the type of keywords for paid search, let’s understand what keywords are and their importance in paid marketing. Keywords are words or phrases people use to find information on the internet. For example, if you reside in Dubai and want to go for a dental checkup, you might google “dental clinic near me” or “best dentist near me.” Both these terms are keywords that will help you find what you are looking for on the web. 

For paid marketing, choosing the right keywords is crucial because you put money into your ads and don’t want them to go to waste by targeting the wrong ones. Your text ad needs to be relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on in order to earn high-quality scores. This will determine where your ad appears and the cost per click for that ad.

Now, let us look at the four types of keywords for paid search.

1. Broad Match

Broad match is the default keyword match type. This lets search engines display your ads for terms that are variations of your account’s keywords. With broad-match type, your ads can be displayed for many possible keyword variations such as synonyms, singular or plural forms, misspellings, related searches and more. 

By covering a wide variation of your keyword, ads with broad-match keywords can appear in a wide range of search results. Google and Bing prefer to push the use of broad keywords into their smart bidding campaigns and AI so that they can identify user intent and deliver suitable ads to your target audience. 

However, it is essential to note that with broad match keywords, you could end up wasting  a lot of your PPC budget as it may display ads with irrelevant keyword variations. For example, if your campaign keyword is car glass cleaning service, it may also appear for an ad about automobile repair, which is irrelevant to the service you offer. If people click on your ad, you end up spending your ad budget and don’t get to convert.

2. Phrase Match

Phrase match is a keyword match type that allows you to show your ads for searches that match the meaning of your keyword. They are moderately matching keywords placed within quotations. For a phrase match keyword to appear for a search query, it must contain all the words in the same order without any additional words in between, but there can be additional words before and after the keyword. 

Phrase match saves you from attracting an unnecessary audience to your ad like broad match keywords. Phrase match keywords have better flexibility than exact match keywords because you can target long-tail keywords with high commercial intent. 

An example of a phrase match keyword can be “moving services in Dubai.” With this keyword, your ad can appear for searches like “affordable moving services in Dubai” or “moving services from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.” As you can see, the addition of words before and after the actual keyword doesn’t affect the display of your ad because the intent is clear; the searcher is looking for moving services in/ from the same city.

3. Exact Match 

Exact-match keywords have the highest relevance but the lowest reach. It is the most restrictive keyword match type because it will appear on search results for the same keyword or the same intent as the keyword. You can create an exact match keyword by using them in brackets [ ]. An example of an exact match keyword can be [men’s shoe], and it may appear for searches like [shoes for men], [shoes for a man], or [shoe men].

Such an ad can bring you less traffic and generate fewer impressions or conversions. But whatever traffic you get through exact match keywords is highly targeted because people have typed the exact search term chosen. Exact match keywords help to increase your Quality Score by lowering your search term to keyword ratio. 

4. Negative Keywords

As important as knowing which keywords your ads should show up for, it is equally crucial to know which keywords you don’t want your ads to pop up for. For example, say you own a smoothie bar and run ads for the same. If someone is looking particularly for vegan smoothies, you don’t want your ad to show up if you don’t sell them. 

Therefore, if you add “vegan smoothies” as one of your negative keywords, your ad won’t appear for that search query. Your negative keyword list can be modified with time as you keep discovering the unnecessary keywords that are triggering your ads. 

These are the four types of keywords used in paid search. If you are into paid marketing, you’d probably know about them, but if you are just venturing into PPC marketing, knowing about these four types of keywords will help you better plan your paid marketing campaigns. 

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