Keyword Match Types – Important for Dental AdWords Marketing

What are ‘match types’ and why are they important?

AdWords keyword match typesWe recently covered a range of AdWords (PPC) configuration mistakes we often see when taking over ‘home spun’ dental pay-per-click campaigns. We are usually approached to help where campaigns have been set up superficially, subsequently perform badly and waste a lot of money. You can catch up with that earlier article here.

One of the main errors we see is failure to understand and use keyword match types to improve targeting, resulting in wasted clicks and lost cash. When a dentist or member of the practice team sets up a PPC campaign, the tendency is simply to use “broad” match phrases added fairly indiscriminately into a single campaign and ad. group. Low click-through rates, poor quality scores and high click costs usually result, often accompanied by poor conversions.

What is broad match?

The title is fairly self-explanatory – this is where a keyword is added to the campaign and left to match the widest possible range of search queries. Whilst this may sound useful, it often isn’t as it attracts lots of attention from quite unrelated search terms. To demonstrate, consider the phrase dental implants – in broad match configuration, this could actually attract searches for other types of implants and other forms of dental treatments. So not good targeting. Basically your advert would be eligible to show if either or both of the terms were in the searchers query. It’s reasonably easy to see the issue and why it can lead to irrelevant clicks.

Other keyword match options – phrase match, exact match and broad match modified

These terms are also fairly self-explanatory. Using exact match configuration means that your advert will show only when the search query matches your keyword exactly. So dental implants set up with this configuration would only show your advert when the user typed in those exact search terms.

Phrase match configuration is slightly less restrictive in that it makes your advert eligible for terms that are broader than the exact phrase but also contain it. So for example dental implants set as phrase match type could show your ad. for cost of dental implants, dental implants procedure etc. So reasonable targeting but more flexible.

Broad match modification allows you to specify which words in a keyword string must appear in a user’s search query exactly or as a very close variant such as singular/plural, abbreviations, slight misspellings etc. This is particularly useful in the hands of an experienced PPC practitioner.

The negative match option

You can also specify keywords for which you wish to exclude your adverts. An example might be the word ‘cheap’ if you don’t want your implant service to fall under that banner. Negative match can also be added in broad, exact and phrase formats.

When do I use the various forms of match type?

This is a great question and not one that is simple to answer – there is no ideal formula for setting up a PPC campaign as they are all slightly different. Long-term success takes a good deal of experience and a lot of ongoing optimisation. For a new campaign I will start with a a variety of terms split into different campaigns, each with different ad. groups – so a high degree of granularity. I check performance several times per day in the first few weeks of the campaign to see if there are any keywords with high cost but low return and adjust accordingly. I will also check to see which search phrases are triggering ad. clicks to make sure they are relevant and, where necessary, modify the negative keyword list.


minimise irrelevant search queries in pay per clickLearning about the various keyword matching types and experimenting with their use is important if you are to be successful with your dental pay per click campaign.

Failure to use match types correctly is one of the largest sources of wasted cash in AdWords campaigns which have been set up superficially by inexperienced users. To help minimise irrelevant search queries and costly wasted clicks, it is wise to learn the basics or seek guidance from an experienced AdWords practitioner.

If you would like to know more about how the marketing team at Dental Media can help with your AdWords campaign, please call us on 01332 672548.