How to Use Match Types in an SEM Campaign

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or also referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is the process of showing ads for your company when particular keywords you have paid for on a “per click” basis are used in a search by a user. Those ads should entice the user enough so that they are clicked on at which point are driven to a landing page (or another page) on your website with a required action. The needed action is usually in the form of a call, filling out a form, etc. which will generate a lead for your company.

When selecting keywords, it’s usually a function of finding terms that are closely related to your business. For instance, a personal injury attorney would choose not only that keyword but possibly personal injury lawyer and their corresponding plurals (personal injury attorneys, etc.)

Not only is it essential to select the most relevant keywords for your business but also the “type” of a keyword. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “What a Minute! I thought “Personal Injury Attorney” could be the only search term, what do you mean by Match Type?” Google has determined that a search term could have a lot of relevance (which would technically make you click on the ads more often) or lower relevance (which would make you click less on the ads). Google is also interested in making the most money that it can so it’s more interesting on showing ads for keywords that have the most relevance.

That’s where Match Types come in. The match type for a keyword can either be Exact Match, Phrase Match, or Broad Match. As the relevance of the keyword increases so does the cost per click.

What does this mean?

An Exact Match search term would look like the following: Personal Injury Attorney. Notice that this is the exact search term with nothing else included in the query. Since this is precisely what the user is searching for, an Exact match term would have the highest cost-per-click.

A Phrase Match search term would look like this: Personal Injury Attorney Los Angeles OR Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney. Notice how Personal Injury Attorney is included in the entire search phrase. This type of search term is typically the 2nd most expensive. This is the match type that tends to be used the most. In the above example, it could yield a very good search result by using phrase match because it captures the city. By having “Personal Injury Attorney” in phrase match, as long as it’s in the search term, it could generate more opportunities for clicks. For instance,

Personal Injury Attorney Los Angeles
Personal Injury Attorney Moorpark
Personal Injury Attorney Thousand Oaks
Malibu Personal Injury Attorney
Manhattan Beach Personal Injury Attorney
El Segundo Personal Injury Attorney

SEM Phrase match keywords can be dangerous because they can also be included in search queries that may not generate a lead for the advertiser. #SEM #PPC #DigitalAds #PayPerClick Click To Tweet

Phrase match keywords can also be dangerous because they can also be included in phrases that may not generate a lead for the advertiser. Phrases which may not be effective could include:

Personal Injury Attorney Reviews
Personal Injury Attorney Salary
Personal Injury Attorney Jobs

Finally, there is the Broad match keyword type. Simply by its name, it will generate the broadest result and subsequently has the cheapest click. “Personal Injury Attorney” in a broad match would have an occurrence of those three keywords anywhere in the search query and not in any particular order. For instance:

I need an attorney that can help me with my injury. Personal and not business.

Personal attorney for injury.

While these phrases are relevant, Google had determined they are probably not as relevant and Exact or Phrase match term.

Structured correctly, all three types of keywords can be effectively used in an SEM campaign to generate the most significant amount of leads for your business.

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