online sales

The fine art of keyword matching

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Simple tips to boost click throughs and conversion rates from your Google ads.

The fine art of keyword matching

Chris Thomas

I’m sure many of you have a Google AdWords account, so for the next few weeks I’d like to go through some top tips to improve your campaign effectiveness, and make sure you’re getting the most from your SEM efforts.

Provided you’re using Standard Edition and not the Starter Edition of AdWords, the following tips will help you create Google ads that produce higher click throughs, reduce the amount you spend on clicks and boost your conversion rates so you can make more money!

Use Google’s keyword matching options.

Google has five ‘keyword matching’ options; four are publicised and one is not.

The publicised options are:

  • Broad match.
  • “Phrase match”.
  • [Exact match].
  • -Negative keywords.

The unpublicised keyword matching tool is called Dynamic Keyword Insertion (or DKI).

But let’s first explore the publicised matching options.

Read the following explanation carefully, because some of these features are arguably the most powerful traffic targeting tools within the Google AdWords system.

Broad match

For example. Your key phrase is ‘tennis shoes’.

Broad match will show your Google Ad if someone types in any search with the words ‘tennis’ and ‘shoes’ in the string, in any order – for example ‘shoes for tennis’, ‘red tennis coaching shoes’ etc. Broad match is great for creating brand awareness because your Google Ad will receive lots of impressions.

“Phrase Match”

Phrase match is where you put quotation marks around your keywords, like this:

tennis shoes

This tells Google you only want your ad to appear when the two words are kept together, so your add will show for “red tennis shoes” but it won’t show if the string is broken’ – “shoes for tennis”.

[Exact Match]

The Exact match option is when you put square brackets around your keywords; [tennis shoes].

Your ad will only appear when someone types in ‘tennis shoes’. You’ll receive fewer impressions, but you’ll get much more targeted traffic. It will prevent your Google ad being displayed for ‘pink tennis shoes’ – very handy if you don’t stock pink tennis shoes!

-Negative Keywords

Using negative keyword options can also help you reduce unwanted clicks. If you place a minus sign in front of your keywords, you tell Google not to show your Google ad if that keyword is used in the string. This is very handy for geographical targeting, things you don’t sell or people looking for free stuff.

For example, if you don’t sell your tennis shoes in New South Wales or Sydney, or if you don’t sell them in pink, you can include:

  • -NSW
  • -New South Wales
  • -Sydney
  • -pink
  • -free

The unpublicised keyword tool, ‘dynamic keyword insertion’, allows you to dynamically insert keywords from your keyword list into your Google ad. This can really help your click through rates, raise your ‘quality score’ and lower your click costs. I mentioned this in my get rich quick blog, but I’ll go over it again here.

Here’s your Google ad in your AdWords AdGroup:

{KeyWord:Top Quality Tennis Shoes}
Buy tennis shoes from us.
We’re really ace. Order online now!

Then there’s the key phrase list for which the ad above will appear:

  • tennis shoes
  • red tennis shoes
  • blue tennis shoes
  • addidas tennis shoes
  • nike tennis shoes
  • etc. etc.

The title – {KeyWord:Top Quality Tennis Shoes} tells Google to insert the key phrase from the list into the title. So if someone types into Google “blue tennis shoes”, (which is in the list above) then the Google ad will look like this:

Blue Tennis Shoes
Buy tennis shoes from us.
We’re really ace. Order online now!

From experience Google knows that a user is more likely to click on a Google ad when there is an exact match between what they’ve typed in and the content in the ad. The “Top Quality Tennis Shoes” section of the command is called the “default title”.

Remember, Google limits the title to 25 characters. If the user types in a key phrase longer than 25 characters then Google inserts “Top Quality Tennis Shoes” instead.

  • If you want the dynamic text to be all lower case, use {keyword:top quality tennis shoes}.
  • If you want the dynamic text to start with the first letter of the first word capitalised, use {Keyword:Top quality tennis shoes}.
  • If you want the dynamic text to have the first letter in caps for each word, use {KeyWord:Top Quality Tennis Shoes}.
  • If you want the dynamic text to have the first word to all be in caps, use {KEYword:TOP quality tennis shoes}.
  • If you want the dynamic text to have the first word to all be in caps and the other words to start with the first letter in caps, use {KEYWord:TOP Quality Tennis Shoes}.
  • If you want the dynamic text to all be in caps, use {KEYWORD:TOP QUALITY TENNIS SHOES}

Lastly, you can use dynamic insertion in any part of your Google ad text, not just the title. I’ve even seen it used in the destination URL (for keyword tracking – metrics analysis and keyword conversion etc). However, be sparing and be careful. Here’s an eBay affiliate’s Google ad (which I found today) using DKI which is just plain silly.

Aff. Everything to do with


More next week!

Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine marketing company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.


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