Curious about the mystery behind PPC campaigns that consistently outperform the competition? It boils down to one crucial element: the selection of paid search keywords. In the vast digital landscape, understanding the nuances of keyword types can mean the difference between a campaign that merely survives and one that thrives. From broad match to exact match and everything in between, each keyword type carries its own potential for success. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of various paid search keyword types, offering insights and strategies to empower your PPC campaigns and propel them to new heights of effectiveness.

What is PPC? 

PPC, or pay-per-click, refers to an online marketing method in which advertisers compensate for each click on their ads. While PPC has an average of 200% return on investment (ROI), it is known to generate double the number of website visitors than SEO does. Research reveals – PPC ads boost a business’s brand awareness on average by 80%. It’s primarily executed through search engines like Google Ads, where advertisers vie for keywords, ensuring their ads surface prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs) when those keywords are queried. Likewise, PPC in digital marketing offers immediate visibility and targeted reach, driving traffic and conversions efficiently. 

What’s a Keyword?

A keyword serves as a term or phrase utilized by individuals to locate information on Google and other search engines, playing a pivotal role not only in online searches but also in broader web exploration. These keywords are essential for effectively targeting the desired audience when constructing and optimizing a website. Likewise, PPC keyword research involves identifying specific keywords for integration into pay-per-click advertising campaigns, commonly conducted through platforms like Google Ads or other search engine marketing channels. The objective is to pinpoint paid search keywords that are strategically relevant to bid on within PPC campaigns, ensuring that your advertisements are displayed when users search for those particular keywords. 

Types of Paid Search Keywords for PPC 

Broad Match Keywords

Amid all the other paid search keywords, broad-match keywords are like shooting a shotgun. While you specify the general area of interest (the keyword), Google has the potential to broaden its interpretation, occasionally leading to search queries diverging significantly from your initial expectations. These keywords cast a wide net, allowing your ad to appear for searches that include variations, synonyms, and related terms. However, while offering extensive reach, they may attract less targeted traffic. 

  • Example: If your broad match keyword is “smartphone accessories,” your ad might display searches like “phone cases” or “mobile gadgets.”

Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords target your ad for searches that include the exact phrase along with additional words before or after it. This strikes a balance between specificity and reach. Pros of phrase match include enhanced control over the specific queries your ads will be displayed for, particularly effective for targeting complete sentences, and efficient in preventing extensive keyword expansions. However, its drawbacks include a reduction in search volume and a relatively high level of restrictiveness compared to broad match modifiers, with minimal discernible advantages.

  • Example: If your phrase match keyword is “wireless headphones,” your ad could appear for searches like “best wireless headphones for workouts” or “wireless headphones with noise cancellation.”

Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords, among all the other paid search keywords, are like the snipers of the keyword match types – focused, accurate, and directly hitting the mark. These keywords offer precision by displaying your ad only for searches that exactly match your keyword or close variants. This ensures maximum relevance for your ad placements. This match type operates on a straightforward principle: what you specify is precisely what you receive. However, drawbacks include significantly reduced search volume for your chosen keywords and limitations in uncovering new variations or long-tail keywords, potentially causing you to overlook one-time searches.

  • Example: If your exact match keyword is “[Bluetooth speakers],” your ad would only show for searches that precisely match “Bluetooth speakers” without additional words or variations.

Broad Match Modifier Keywords

Broad match modifier keywords provide flexibility and specificity by allowing your ad to show for searches containing the marked words or close variations, in any order. Broad match modifier offers improved control over the selection of searches where your ads will display, making it a valuable tool for discovering new long-tail keywords. Even when search phrases contain additional words or vary in word order, your ads can still be triggered. This match type also effectively captures misspellings, enhancing ad visibility. However, its drawbacks include a lower search volume compared to broad match and the potential for expansion to seemingly unrelated searches. 

  • Example: If your broad match modifier keyword is “+digital +camera,” your ad might appear for searches like “camera digital best price” or “digital professional cameras.”

Negative Keywords

In the field of paid search keywords, negative keywords are terms or phrases that advertisers specify to prevent their ads from appearing in search results when those keywords are included in a user’s search query. By adding negative keywords to their PPC campaigns, advertisers can avoid showing ads to users who are unlikely to convert or who are not their target audience. This helps to improve the relevancy of ad placements, reduce wasted ad spend on irrelevant clicks, and ultimately increase the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.

  • Example: Let’s say you’re running a PPC campaign to promote your high-end furniture store specializing in luxury designer pieces. However, you want to ensure that your ads don’t appear for users looking for inexpensive or budget furniture options. In this case, you might add negative keywords such as “cheap,” “discount,” “affordable,” and “budget” to your campaign. This way, when users search for phrases like “cheap designer furniture” or “discount luxury sofas,” your ads won’t be triggered, preventing wasted ad spend on clicks from users unlikely to make a purchase. Instead, your ads will only appear for users actively seeking high-end, premium furniture options, improving the relevance of your ad placements and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Geo Targeted Keywords

Geo-targeted keywords are specific search terms tailored to target users within a particular geographic location. These keywords help advertisers refine their targeting to reach audiences in specific regions, cities, or even neighborhoods.

  • Example: A local bakery, for instance, may use geo-targeted keywords like “best cupcakes in [city name]” or “bakery near me” to attract customers in their immediate vicinity. A restaurant in New York City may use local keywords like “Italian restaurant in Manhattan” or “pizza delivery near Times Square” to attract customers in the vicinity.

Long-tail Keywords

No discussion on paid search keywords is complete without mentioning long-tail keywords. These keywords are highly specific search queries that typically consist of three or more words. Unlike broad or generic keywords, long-tail keywords target niche audiences and often indicate a higher level of intent from users. 

  • Example: Instead of targeting the generic keyword “laptops,” a tech retailer may use long-tail keywords like “15-inch touchscreen laptops with SSD” to attract users searching for a specific type of laptop.

Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are search terms that include the name of a specific brand or company. These keywords are used to target users who are already familiar with the brand or are actively searching for its products or services. 

  • Example: A clothing retailer may bid on branded keywords like “Nike sneakers” or “Apple iPhone” to capture traffic from users specifically looking for those brands.

Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are search terms that include the names of rival brands or companies. Advertisers may bid on competitor keywords to target users who are considering or actively searching for alternatives to their competitors’ products or services. 

  • Example: A smartphone manufacturer may bid on competitor keywords like “Samsung Galaxy” or “Google Pixel” to attract users who are researching different smartphone options


Nonetheless, by mastering the nuances of selecting paid search keywords and strategically deploying them in campaigns, advertisers can optimize targeting, improve ad relevance, and maximize ROI. Similarly, when seeking paid search keywords for PPC campaigns, enlisting the expertise of a reputable digital marketing company is imperative. As the best digital marketing agency in Bangalore, our seasoned professionals employ tools and methodologies to conduct comprehensive keyword research tailored to your business objectives. Partnering with a top-tier digital marketing company in Bangalore like ours empowers you to leverage the full potential of paid search advertising, driving meaningful results and sustainable growth for your business, at ease!