Match Types in Google AdWords – Use ‘Em if You’ve Got ‘Em

Today I came across a Search Engine Roundtable post from last week that speculates whether or not Google AdWords recommends using multiple match types for a single keyword phrase. Born out of a thread at WebmasterWorld, the post struck me as odd. Personally, I frequently use the entire spectrum of match types – employing broad, phrase and exact matches of my keywords to great effect. So I was a little more than disturbed by this thought.

The comment string on this post seems to back up my stance – whoever was crying foul that using all match types is bad was misinformed. I could understand from an account management perspective why it could make sense to recommend that utilizing all three match types at once is a bad idea. If you don’t pay attention to your reporting, or take special care to separate the data received from each match type, then maybe you should only bid on either the broad, phrase or exact match.

However, my perspective is that the AdWords system isn’t perfect. You can set a keyword to phrase match, but it doesn’t pick up every possible phrase match opportunity. The same can be said for broad match. Broad matched keywords will pick up a lot of search queries, but they don’t get everything. I feel more confident pairing the two together – and carefully reviewing my performance and search query reports. Exact match comes in as the super-targeted compliment to the other match types. As you well know, exact match will drive your highest CTR, and is the true summation of your keyword research and on-going search query reporting.

I see the 3 match types complementing each other and feel strongly that limiting yourself to one – no matter what – is the wrong answer. Now, on the flip-side, I’m not advocating that you simply dump all 3 match types automatically into your accounts for EVERY keyword. Take a finesse approach, and let your keywords’ performance guide your decisions. Based on performance, you will see that one or two of the three just don’t perform as well, and you’ll need to pause those match types.

What’s your take on this discussion? Leave me a comment!