Exact Match Keywords

Joran Hofman
April 4, 2021

What are Exact Match Keywords?

The exact match keyword is the type of match from Google and other search engines that allows an ad to show only when a user types the exact word or phrase they are probing for.

For example, an exact match keyword in Google Ads will only enter an auction where the search query is the same or is a similar variant of the keyword.

The exact match keyword proposal allows you to keep tight control over your budget allocated for advertising, which will bring a higher ROI on your advertising investment.

Why are Exact Match Keywords important?

As the goal of marketers is to increase the reach of a brand and improve the search ranking of a website, they use exact match keywords in strategies instead of focusing on broader options to generate more views, and this is because brands are not interested and do not want the public to see their ad in unimportant searches.

Although phrase match and broad match can attract a lot of traffic, that traffic will not always be made up of highly rated leads who are ready and willing to buy. Although it is always nice to have more search impressions, the click-through rate would decrease, and the chances that those who click will make a purchase go down. This leads to a higher cost per acquisition (CPA), or in other words, a lower return on investment.

On the opposite side of the scale, exact match keywords have the opposite effect. They are of very high precision, and their result is to obtain potential clients with higher qualification and a lower cost per acquisition. However, unlike phrase match and broad match, it is detrimental to traffic.


What is the difference between Exact Match and Partial Match Keywords?

Exact match keywords indicate that a target keyword has an exact match to a search query, anchor text in a link, or domain name.

A partial match means that a keyword is included among other words in those components. Both exact match keywords and partial match keywords are used frequently in SEO, link building and building, and PPC.

What exactly is changing with Exact Match Keywords?

Like everything to do with Google (and other search engines), the method by which the search engine performs exact match queries changes all the time. Since Google Ads appeared, "exact match" keywords have gradually changed from producing only exact matches to including searches with a similar intent.

Since 2019, ads can be shown in searches that the Google search engine assumes are close enough to the target keywords in terms of search intent. This is apparently becoming a trend in which users are asking for better results based on actual search intent and not on a search engine interpretation of keywords.

The March 2020 exact match update closely resembles the modified broad match. In addition to generally matching misspelled keywords, Google promised ads for a wider range of search queries:

  • Synonyms
  • Paraphrase
  • Accents
  • Derivations (keywords plus suffixes like -ing, -ed, -er)
  • Abbreviations/acronyms ("SEO" and "search engine optimization")
  • Singular/plural forms ("soccer shoe" versus "soccer shoes")

According to Google’s statements, the updates were made with a better user experience in mind, stating that the changes will be "broadly beneficial for users and advertisers." Although, results can still vary by the advertiser, especially in highly competitive areas for high-volume keywords.

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