Exact Match Keyword

An exact match keyword is a search term that precisely matches the query entered by a user in a search engine.


Exact match keywords are the specific terms or phrases that users enter into search engines to find information, products, or services. When a keyword is set to exact match in a search advertising campaign, ads will only show if the search query matches the keyword exactly. This means the ads won't appear for searches that are similar but not identical. Exact match keywords help advertisers target their ads to a highly specific audience, reducing the likelihood of irrelevant clicks and increasing the chances of conversion.

Did you know?
Google has expanded the definition of exact match over the years to include close variations with the same intent, such as misspellings, plurals, and rewordings.

Usage and Context

Exact match keywords are especially relevant in the context of search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). In SEM, using exact match keywords allows advertisers to precisely control which searches their ads appear for, making their ad spend more efficient. In SEO, understanding how exact match keywords work can help content creators optimize their content to match specific search queries, potentially improving search rankings for those terms. For example, a bakery specializing in "gluten-free blueberry muffins" would use this exact match keyword in their content and SEM campaigns to attract a highly targeted audience looking for this specific product.


  1. What is the difference between exact match and broad match keywords?

    • Exact match keywords target queries that match the keyword exactly or very closely, while broad match keywords allow ads to show on searches that include any word in your keyword phrase, in any order, including synonyms and related searches.
  2. Can exact match keywords include plural forms or misspellings?

    • Yes, Google's exact match has evolved to include close variations like misspellings, singular or plural forms, and words with the same intent.
  3. How do I set up exact match keywords in my ad campaign?

    • In your search advertising platform (like Google Ads), add your chosen keywords surrounded by square brackets, for example, [exact match keyword], to specify they are exact match.
  4. Are exact match keywords more expensive?

    • While the cost can vary, exact match keywords often have higher costs-per-click (CPC) because of their targeted nature, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
  5. How should exact match keywords be used in SEO?

    • For SEO, exact match keywords should be used judiciously within your website’s content, titles, and meta descriptions to align closely with specific searches your target audience is making.


  1. Improved Ad Relevance: Ads are more relevant to the searcher's intent, improving the chances of clicks and conversions.
  2. Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR): More targeted advertising often results in higher CTR as ads are matched with precise searches.
  3. Lower Costs Over Time: By targeting specific searches, it's possible to reduce wasted spend on irrelevant clicks, improving overall ROI.
  4. Better Control Over Ad Spend: Advertisers can control their budget by focusing on searches that are more likely to convert.
  5. Increased Conversion Rates: Since ads are shown to users with explicit intent, the likelihood of conversions is significantly higher.

Tips and Recommendations

  1. Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help identify exact match keywords that your audience is searching for.
  2. Regularly Review Performance: Monitor the performance of your exact match keywords and adjust your strategy based on which terms are most effective.
  3. Combine With Other Match Types: Use a mix of match types, including phrase match and broad match modifiers, to capture a wider range of search intents.
  4. Align Content With Keywords: Ensure your content closely matches the exact terms your audience is searching for.
  5. Test and Optimize: Continuously test different exact match keywords and ad copy to optimize for the best results.


Exact match keywords are a powerful tool in both SEM and SEO strategies, enabling advertisers and content creators to reach a highly targeted audience. By understanding and effectively utilizing exact match keywords, you can improve your ad relevance, increase click-through and conversion rates, and ensure your marketing budget is being spent efficiently.

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