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What is Keywords ? How keywords work?

What is Keywords ? How keywords work?

Keywords are defined as phrases that determine when and where your ad is going to appear. The keywords should match the phrase a user has typed into a search engine. This way, the search engines relate the phrase and look for the ads that are closely related to the phrase that is used in the search query.
Keywords are an essential part of creating ads with Google AdWords and using paid reach, but they are also an important element of search engine optimization, i.e. organic reach.

How keywords work?

In order to help your ad appear in the search queries related to your business, you have to use keywords that match those queries best. You will provide a list of keywords within your Google AdWords account and you will set up cost per click (CPC), i.e. the amount of money you are willing to pay for a click on those keywords.
When it comes to Google Search and Google Partner sites, the ads are being displayed based on the search query. Therefore, the ads that will appear are closely related to the search query. If you use Google Display Network for advertising, Google will display the ads with keywords that match the content of the webpage on which the ad is being displayed.

Since the idea with the advertising is to attract people who are interested in your business, in order to convert them to your customers, you need to use keywords that are actually related to your business. If you own an online shop which sells equipment for tennis players, you need to use keywords that are related to tennis in order to reach your potential customers. It is useless to provide unrelated keywords, as you will see no profit from such campaign.

Keyword matching types

In order to fully understand how keywords work, you should also understand keyword matching options. Matching options are used with the keywords in the ads to control where the search engine is going to display the ad. This can help you limit your target audience and increase the efficiency of your ads, in order to maximize the potential of your campaign. However, choosing inadequate matching option may limit your campaign and thus have negative effect on its performance. This is why you have to monitor the keywords and find out which matching option produces best results.

For example, if you use keyword phrase “tennis equipment” in your AdWords campaign, you should determine whether you want to target this phrase exclusively, or you want to add phrases such as “equipment for tennis”, “buy tennis equipment online”, etc. You are able to determine this, using different matching options for keyword. There are five matching options to choose from.

Broad match
If you choose broad match, apart from the exact match of the phrase, your ad will appear in the searches including synonyms, relevant variations and misspelled words. This is basically the most comprehensive matching type you can choose, as it includes a lot of variations. Therefore, your ad will be displayed when someone looks for “equipment for tennis” (relevant variation), “tennis equipement” (misspelled word), etc.
This option is set by default when you create a campaign. Broad match is recommended when you do not want to invest a lot of time in creating a list of keywords to be used as exact match. If you use broad match in your campaign, you should use negative keywords to avoid your ad being shown in the irrelevant searches and thus gaining a lot of visitors you will not be able to convert.

Broad match modifier
If you want to add a modifier, you should use the plus sign on your keyboard (+) before the keyword. For example, you can type +tennis, +equipment. When you choose broad match modifier option, your ad will not be shown for synonyms or related searches. Instead, it will only appear when a search query consists of modified terms you specified in the campaign settings.

You should use broad match modifier if you want to increase the relevancy of the search queries to your ad, but this will also result in less traffic than if you were using the broad match.

Phrase match
Choosing phrase match option allows you to target users who are searching for the exact keyword or phrase. Your ad will also reach people who are using the keyword or phrase with additional words before or after the phrase. You should use quotation marks for the phrase you want to use in the phrase match. If you use a phrase such as “tennis equipment”, your ad will be shown to the users who are searching for this phrase, as well as to the users who type “buy tennis equipment” or “tennis equipment for kids”.
You should use this option if you want to increase targeting options and narrow down your target group. Even though this reduces the volume of traffic you are going to receive, it will help with reaching relevant customers, which will further help you increase conversions.

Exact match
Exact match option is used when you want the ad to appear only when someone searches for the exact keyword. In this case you do not want to include any modifiers or additional words in the keyword list, and that way you exclude all related search queries. You should surround keyword with brackets, for example [tennis equipment]. With exact match option, your ad will only appear when the users type the exact phrase from the brackets, and the ad will not show when users type “buy tennis equipment” or “tennis equipment for kids”.
You should use this option if you want to closely target your ads, but you should have in mind that this will significantly reduce the number of users who will get to see your ad.

Negative match
Negative match is used when you want to prevent the ad from showing up for certain terms. Use a minus sign (-) before the words you want to exclude. You should be careful when choosing the negative match, as you should only exclude the keywords when you are completely certain that you do not want your ad to appear for those searches. You should also have in mind that the ad might appear for synonyms or other variations of the negative match.

It is recommended to use negative match to filter traffic and prevent the ad to appear in unrelated searches, and thus reduce the amount of unwanted clicks. General recommendation by Google is to use negative match in order to prevent your ad appearing for searches that will not result in conversions. For example, if you sell a product or service, you should use a keyword “free” as a negative match, as those who are just looking for a free version of that product or service are unlikely to become your customers. Besides “free”, words such as “course”, “class”, or “job” might also be considered as negative keywords, depending on your company.

Understanding the difference between these matching options is important as those allow you to control who will be able to see your ad. While broad match option will show your ad when people search the actual word, as well as misspelled word and different word order, phrase match will only show your ad when the actual keyword is searched for. The first option tends to get more extensive as it expands the target group and the number of searches becomes significantly larger. On the other hand, the second option provides better control over the costs as it helps you limit who can see the ads, but it generates fewer clicks as it reduces the volume of searches.

If you are in a dilemma which of these matching options to use, Google recommends starting with broad match as it helps you maximize the potential of your ad showing in the search results. However, you should closely monitor the campaign in order to determine if that option is the best one. In case you are running several ad groups, try using different matching options so that you can compare the results. Once you have organized several campaigns you will have enough experience to use your common sense to decide which keyword phrase should be used combined with a certain matching option. Ultimately, choosing the relevant matching option will help you improve ROI.

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