The first update to the keyword match type occurred in 2014. Since then, Google has been making regular improvements to match types in order to reap long-term benefits.

There are four types of match types when it comes to Google Ads keyword match types:

  • Broad: Matches to the widest range of related possible keyword searches
  • Exact: Matches to the exact phrase or word or close variant of your exact keyword
  • Phrase: Matches to the search queries that are mentioned in the same order as mentioned by you or close variant.
  • Broad match modifier: Google has ended the support for Broad Match Modifier.

Each match type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Using them appropriately can make a huge impact on your Google ads campaign. If you limit your keyword to just one match type, you’ll only get the results that match type is designed to provide. Combining the correct match types will assist you in gaining control over what you require.

A Quick History Of Keyword Match Type Changes

Over the past decade, Google has made several changes in the match type which have impacted the performance of the search campaigns. Here is the brief information about these match types changes.

August 2014

Brief About The Announcement: Google has started applying close variant keyword matching to all exact and phrase match keywords. By matching the keywords to close variations, support for pure exact & phrase match types has ended.

Examples: If people are searching for [kid scooter], their search query will match to “kid scooters”, “kid’s scooter”, or “kids scooters” as well to show them the most relevant ad.

March 2017

Brief About The Announcement: Exact match close variants include rewording & reordering of keywords. Exact match keywords will overlook non-essential function terms and match searches in a different order if the meaning is the same.

Examples: Keyword [running shoes] will match to shoes running as the keyword has been rearranged and keyword [nike shoes women] will match to nike shoes for women as function word “for” has been added.

September 2018

Brief About The Announcement: Exact match keywords will include variations with the same meaning. Exact match close variation keywords will match to suggested & similar intended words.

Examples: Keyword [yosemite camping] will match to search queries “yosemite campground,” campsites in yosemite,” or “yosemite national park ca camping.

July 2019

Brief About The Announcement: Same meaning variations to be included to Broad Match Modifier & Phrase match keywords. Phrase match & Broad Match Modifier keywords will match for words they consider to have the same meaning.

Examples: If we take +lawn, +mowing, +service keywords, they will match with search queries grass cutting and gardning services & rates for services that cut your grass. In a similar way, grass cutting service near me and local lawn cutting service will match the keyword “lawn mowing service”.

February 2021

Brief About The Announcement: Broad Match Modifier is going away and phrase match will acquire its behavior. It signifies that by deprecating the Broad Match Modifier, the best of it is now available in phrase match.

Examples: Keyword “holidays in zambia” and “long sleeve dress” will match with search queries holiday spots in Zambia and long sleeve lace dress respectively.

September 2021

Brief About The Announcement: Preference of broad match keyword over phrase and exact match keyword.  For the same keyword, Google is favoring the usage of Broad Match with Smart Bidding over phrase and exact match types.

Examples: If we look at the search term “sushi delivery near me,” it’s possible that it will match the keywords sushi delivery and sushi delivery near me. However, as a result of this information, the search term sushi delivery near me will be an excellent match.

We have summarised the keyword match type change history in an infographic which will help you to have a better understanding.

Google ads match type change

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