FAQ - What is the difference between the keywords match types?

What's the difference between the keyword services, "services" or +services - and which should I use?

Keywords use something called matching types. A keyword's match type helps to determine how broadly or specifically it targets users.

For the Google Ads (previously called Google AdWords) search network, we typically recommend starting with a broad match (e.g. services) or modified broad match (e.g. +services) keyword to cast a wide net. Then after a short period of time – usually a week or two, or depending on the budget – review the search terms. Our review lets us see what people actually searched for and determine if our keyword was too broad or if you should be creating a new ad group.


  • We start with the broad match keyword for commercial construction (your primary service)
  • Two weeks later we use the search term report to review what the keyword triggered and what people clicked
  • The keyword commercial construction was clicked by people who searched for the following:
    • Construction jobs
    • New construction projects in Oklahoma
    • Best commercial construction companies
  • Since attracting future employees is not a focus right now, we add a negative keyword match type for “jobs
  • Since you don't do business in Oklahoma, we adjust the targeting settings and/or negative keywords
  • Since you want customers who value your high quality work, we create new keywords for best, top, industry-leading, etc. to help your ads appear for the right audiences

Each keyword match type has its place, but they need to used strategically - and in well-managed ad groups.

Need help determining the best match type for your keywords? Contact one of our Google Partner certified staff to learn more.