Everything in PPC depends on the keywords used. Advertisers use keywords to define where they want their ads to appear. If you don’t have a good understanding of keywords and how you can effectively use them, you’ll have a challenge in becoming successful in PPC. Before we proceed, you must understand some of the important terms that we shall use in this article:

  • Search term – the phrase or phrases that users type into Google when searching for something.
  • Keyword – a word or set of words that advertisers add to their Google Ad Campaigns.
  • Keyword match type – a keyword setting that determines the reach of the keyword/s.

Types of Keywords

When we talk of keywords, it’s important that we understand the different types of keywords, and what makes them different. These are the different types of keywords:

  • Branded keywords – these include brand or company names, like Amazon, eBay, and others.
  • Transactional keywords – these are the keywords with both a weak and strong purchase intent. So long as there is some purchase intent, a keyword can be labeled as a commercial keyword. This includes everything, from electrical services to running shoes.
  • Generic keywords – these keywords include ambiguous keywords, and they are also known as short-tail keywords, like electrical, plumbing, dental services, and others. The intent of generic keywords is not easily understood. Here, you will not understand whether the searcher is looking for dental services, or they are just looking for different types of dental services.
  • Locational keywords – these are location-based keywords, and they are very effective for location-based businesses. Mostly, they are used by home services companies. The keywords can be something like a city name, such as dental services Florida, or a real request to display ads that have companies near the user, like dental services near me.
  • Informational keywords – these keywords cover the areas where users are searching for information. The keywords can include anything from how to get rid of mold to grocery store directions. Informational keywords are rarely used for Google Ads
  • Long-tail keywords – these are keywords with 3 or more keywords, like Adidas running shoes for cross-country marathon. One thing about long-tail keywords is that they are very transactional, meaning that their conversion rate is very high compared to other types of keywords.

Keywords in a buyer’s journey

The type of keyword used by a person when searching usually reflects their position in the buyer’s journey. However, you should note that it can be a challenge to understand where the buyer’s journey the user is depending on the keywords that they use—but these keywords can be a very strong indicator.

Primary keywords vs. modifiers & qualifiers

When you choose to use keywords in PPC, it’s essential to know the difference between a primary keyword and a keyword modifier/qualifier.

  • Primary keyword – this is the main keyword (e.g. running shoes or plumbing)
  • Keyword modifier/qualifier – a searcher will include a modifier in the keyword, like marathon, near me, or cheap.

It’s important to understand the difference between primary keywords and modifiers/qualifiers since when you have one primary keyword in your account, you will be forced to pay much higher per click, and also have an extremely narrow search.

If you run an electrical services company, and you use the following keywords, you are bidding for one primary keyword:

  • Electricalcompany
  • Electricalcontractor
  • Nearest electricalservices
  • Electricalservices company

If you are a beginner in PPC, these will appear like four different sets of keywords. However, taking a closer look at them you will realize that they are all the same. Therefore, you should consider searching for new keywords across your business if you want your PPC campaigns to be successful.

Keywords are not exact

There is one interesting thing that you’ll realize about keywords when you are new in PPC—whatever you see isn’t what you get. Just because you use a keyword like Adidas marathon running shoes, it does not mean that your ads will appear only when a user searches for Adidas marathon running shoes.

The reason behind this is very interesting—not every expert will be able to cover every search with keywords when every individual keyword should be an exact match of the search.

Keyword match types

There is one thing that everyone should know about keywords—there are diverse match types. The keywords will behave differently, and this will depend on their match type. This is among the unknown secrets that PPC marketers take for granted.

Every marketer needs to understand that there are 4 different match types, and the difference between these match types depends on how you want to expand each match type.

Broad match

If you want to add your keyword in a broad match, you need to add it as it is—running shoes. You can compare broad match keywords like shooting a shotgun—you select the general area where you want to target (the keyword). However, the keyword can be expanded by Google, at times to completely different searchers than you expected.

Here is an example of a broad match keyword, using a protein supplement. Google can also show ads for other searches like:

  • Protein
  • Protein powder
  • Larger muscles
  • Dietary supplement

The good thing with broad match keywords is that Google will show your ads when someone searches for a relevant term.


  • An advertiser can cover lots of keyword variations and misspellings with a one keyword
  • You can easily find high-converting long-tail keywords that you didn’t even consider it the first place
  • It’s very effective
  • These keywords attract more clicks/impressions compared to all other match types


  • These keywords lead to more clicks/searches, which translate to high costs
  • You risk losing money because of irrelevant searches
  • They are hard to control, particularly when it comes to single-worded keywords

Broad match modifier

If you want to include a broad match modifier, use plus signs to add it–+marathon +shoes


  • These keywords will give you better control of the searches that you’d like your ads to feature on
  • Effective when you want to find new long-tail keywords
  • Your ads will show up, even when the search phrase has a different word order or an extra word
  • Highlights misspellings


  • They have a lower search volume
  • Can be expanded to outwardly irrelevant searches
  • It’s not easy to create broad match modifiers

Phrase search

You need to add the keyword in quotation marks, like “marathon shoes” when adding it in phrase match.


  • Gives you greater control on the search queries that you will be displayed
  • They are effective for sentences
  • Also, they are effective when you want to avoid greater expansions


  • Less search volume
  • They are more restrictive compared to broad match modifiers
  • Come with limited benefits

Exact match

Exact match keywords are added with brackets—[marathon shoes]. In this case, it’s only the search terms that match the exact keyword that triggers Google to show your ad. These types of keywords are like the sharpshooters of keyword match types. They are direct, precise, as well as on point.


  • The advertiser knows the exact search being used
  • They are ideal for monitoring high-converting keywords
  • You get what you see


  • They have the lowest search volumes
  • They won’t allow you to find long-tail keywords or new variations
  • You will not appear in on-time searches

If you manage to master these fully, you’ll be able to proceed to the more advanced match type that combines broad match modifier and phrase match into one keyword.

What’s the best match type?

Experts recommend advertisers to use exact match and broad match modifier when setting up their ad campaign. All the match types highlighted above catch different users—which means you’ll be able to use them in an effective Google Ads camping in most cases.

However, you should hold on using broad match until you are sure about what you are doing. It’s important to note that the performance of your Google Ads can easily fail when you decide to use broad match keywords and you don’t have a specific workflow or strategy to optimize the keywords. As your ad campaign continues to gather statistics, you will realize that some of the match types for certain keywords aren’t profitable, while others are.

Negative keywords

These keywords are used when excluding ads from appearing on searched. Now, let’s that you run an electrical services company, excluding searches from areas that you don’t service or services that you don’t offer will boost your performance on Google Ad Campaigns.

If you are in the eCommerce industry, and you are selling trail running shoes but not marathon running shoes, you can choose to exclude marathon from triggering your ads. This is very powerful since you the same amount for each click your keyword generates. That means you will pay for clicks that are not so relevant for your business.

This is a major reason why starters have a challenge in making their Googler Ads work. A person can think that they have selected the right keywords, created good ads, and they are directing quality traffic to their site. However, they end up realizing that their ads are triggered by search phrases that are not relevant to the keyword.

Advertisers should consider using negative keywords in these two capacities:

  • Before you launch your campaigns
  • After you launch your campaigns

Once you finish finding keywords for your ad campaigns, take some time to find the keywords, and see the ones that show up. You can then add any terms that you find irrelevant as negative keywords.

There are lots of negative keywords that you can find out there, and you should capitalize on them. When you launch your ad campaign, ensure that you constantly review your search term report, as it allows you to see the search terms that trigger your ads.