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Keyword Search – Should You Use ‘Broad’, ‘Exact’ or ‘Phrase’?

By Britt Malka / February 15, 2011

When you’re doing keyword research for your niche, you’ve probably noticed that the Google AdWords keyword tool gives you three possibilities:

  • Broad
  • Exact
  • Phrase

Which one of those will give you the best impression of the number of monthly searches? What are the differences between them, and what can you use the other two criteria for?

First of all, let me remind you of where you can find the Google keyword tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

You start searching by writing your keywords in the field on top. Click Search, and you’ll get some results. You’ll notice that Google as standard chooses Broad as Match Type.

Google gives some hints about the meaning of those three match types. As you can see, “Broad” is written just like that, while “Exact” is put between sharp brackets, and “Phrase” is between quotation marks.

Broad Match: A broad match means that the keywords are included in the search. Let’s say you picked money making ideas as your keyword. A broad match will show the total number of searches for these words, including searches like “I don’t want any money making ideas” and “money making ideas for dogs” or even “money from divorce or making up ideas”, “money”, and “making ideas”.

In short: this is very broad, and this kind of search is probably most relevant, when you’re trying to find keyword ideas.

Exact Match: The exact match is the opposite of the broad. Here you’ll find only your keywords, or the other keyword suggestions from Google. Again, if you’re searching for keyword inspiration, and you’ve chosen money making ideas, the result next to [money making ideas] reflects the number of searches per month for those words in that order and no other words. “Money making ideas for kids“, will not be among the results. Not even “internet money-making ideas“. Only “money making ideas” will be included.

This is the match type, I use, when I’m doing keyword results for my articles. I want to write about long tail keywords with at least 100 exact monthly searches. This is the vodoo I stick to, since this is no exact science. However, the exact match is the most targeted of the three.

Phrase Match: If you’re using phrase match, the results for “money making ideas” will count searches for “money making ideas“, “extra money making ideas“, “money making ideas for small siamese cats“, but not “ideas for money making“. Phrase means that the words are kept together and used in the exact same order.

NADE - March 3, 2011


Tai@TraveltoStLucia - March 20, 2011

Thanks for this post! As a newbie blogger this has helped me with my keyword research.

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