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What Are Keywords & How They Work in PPC

Are you searching to boost your online advertising efforts and drive targeted traffic to your website? Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a powerful strategy that can help you achieve your goals. One crucial aspect of successful PPC campaigns is the use of keywords. In this article, we will explore what keywords are and how they work in PPC, empowering you to optimize your campaigns to achieve better results. Get Digital is your ultimate destination for the finest PPC training courses that guarantee to elevate your business to new heights. With our expertise in delivering top-notch PPC services, we ensure that your business receives the attention it truly deserves.

Types of Keywords:

Keywords play a fundamental role in PPC advertising by connecting your ads to relevant search queries. To better understand keywords, let’s explore the different types:

  • Broad Match Keywords: These keywords allow your ads to appear when a search query includes any word in your keyword in any order. For example, if your broad match keyword is “luxury car,” your ad may appear for searches like “luxury car rental” or “car luxury accessories.” However, it may also show up for irrelevant searches, leading to potential ad spend wastage.
  • Phrase Match Keywords: With phrase match keywords, your ad will display when a search query contains the exact phrase or a close variation of it. For example, if your keyword is “luxury car,” your ad may appear for searches like “luxury car dealership” or “luxury car for sale.” This type offers a more targeted approach than a broad match.
  • Exact Match Keywords: Exact match keywords are the most specific. Your ad will only appear when a search query matches your keyword precisely. 

Keywords Across the Buyer’s Journey:

Understanding the buyer’s journey is crucial for effective PPC advertising. By aligning your keywords with each stage of the trip, you can attract the right audience and maximize your conversions. Let’s explore how keywords fit into each step:

Awareness Stage:

At this stage, potential customers are identifying the desires they want to solve. Your goal is to create awareness and capture their attention. Use keywords that address their pain points and introduce your solution. For example, if you offer PPC services, target keywords like “improve online visibility” or “increase website traffic” to attract prospects seeking solutions to enhance their online presence.

Consideration Stage:

During the consideration stage, prospects evaluate different options to fulfill their needs. Here, you want to showcase the unique value your business offers. Focus on keywords that highlight your competitive advantages, such as “expert PPC management” or “proven ROI-driven strategies.” This helps position your business as a reliable and trustworthy choice.

Decision Stage:

During the decision phase, potential customers engage in the desired activity. Your keywords should be compelling and persuasive, emphasizing urgency and the benefits of choosing your business. Use keywords like “get started today” or “limited-time offer” to encourage conversions. Additionally, consider targeting branded keywords to capture users who are specifically searching for your business or product.

By tailoring your keyword strategy to the buyer’s journey, you can effectively guide potential customers from the awareness stage to the decision stage, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Core Keywords vs. Qualifiers & Modifiers:

Keywords can be broadly categorized into two types: core keywords and qualifiers/modifiers. Core keywords are the main terms that reflect the essence of a business, product, or service. These are the basis of a PPC campaign and should align closely with the goals and offerings of the company. For instance, a PPC campaign for a shoe store may have core keywords like “running shoes” or “athletic footwear.”

Qualifiers and modifiers, on the other hand, add specificity and context to core keywords. These are additional terms that refine the search intent and help target a more specific audience. Continuing with the shoe store example, qualifiers and modifiers could include words like “women’s running shoes” or “affordable athletic footwear.” By incorporating these additional keywords, businesses can enhance their campaign’s relevancy and attract more qualified leads.

Keywords Aren’t Exact:

It’s important to understand that keywords in PPC advertising are not exact matches to user search queries. Search engines aim to deliver relevant results to users by considering various factors, including keyword variations, synonyms, misspellings, and related terms. This concept, known as keyword matching, ensures that ads are shown to a wider audience and increases the likelihood of capturing potential customers.

There are different types of keyword-matching options available in PPC campaigns, each with its level of specificity and reach. These include:

  • Broad Match: Ads are shown for a wide range of search queries that include variations, synonyms, and related terms. This option offers the broadest reach but may also lead to impressions from less relevant searches.
  • Phrase Match: Ads are displayed for search queries that contain the core keyword phrase in the specified order. Other words before or after the phrase are also considered. This option provides a balance between reach and specificity.
  • Exact Match: Ads are triggered only when the search query matches the core keyword exactly. This option offers the highest level of specificity but may limit the reach.
  • Modified Broad Match: A combination of a broad and exact match. This option allows advertisers to specify specific terms within the broad match keyword that must be present in the search query for the ad to show.

By leveraging different keyword-matching options, advertisers can optimize their PPC campaigns to strike the right balance between reach and relevance, ensuring that their ads are displayed to the most appropriate audience.

Keywords and their Significance in PPC:

Keywords form the foundation of any successful PPC campaign. These are words that people use to search for things they want to buy or use on the Internet. If you use the right ad-perfect keywords, you’ll appear your advertisements to individuals who want what you have.

To identify relevant keywords, you can conduct keyword research using various tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. Consider both short-tail (broad) and long-tail (specific) keywords to capture a wide extent of look questions.

Keyword Match Types:

In PPC advertising, match types determine how closely a user’s search query must match your chosen keywords for your ad to be eligible to appear. Here are the common match types:

a) Broad Match: This is the default match type. It allows your ad to show a wide range of variations of your keywords, including synonyms, misspellings, and related terms. While it offers a broad reach, it may also lead to less targeted traffic.

b) Modified Broad Match: By adding a “+” symbol before selected keywords, you can ensure that those terms are included in the user’s search query. This match type offers a balance between reach and relevance.

c) Phrase Match: Enclosing your keywords in quotation marks (“”) creates a phrase match. Your ad will be triggered when a user’s search query contains the exact phrase or a close variation of it. This match type provides more control over the relevancy of the search terms.

d) Exact Match: Placing your keywords in brackets ([]), you can set up an exact match. This match type ensures that your ad appears only when the user’s search query perfectly matches your chosen keyword. It offers the most elevated level of control and significance.

Negative Keywords:

While it’s crucial to target the right audience, it’s equally important to exclude irrelevant search queries. Negative keywords become a big hurdle for you such that they will disallow your ads from appearing for certain search terms. By specifying negative keywords, you can avoid wasting your budget on clicks that are unlikely to result in conversions.

For example, if you offer premium products, you might add “cheap” or “discount” as negative keywords. This ensures that your ads don’t appear for users looking for lower-priced alternatives.

Regularly review search terms report in your PPC campaign to identify irrelevant keywords triggering your ads. Add these keywords as negative keywords to refine your targeting and optimize your campaign performance.


In the realm of PPC advertising, keywords play a crucial role in reaching the right audience and maximizing the return on your investment. By conducting thorough keyword research, selecting appropriate match types, and using negative keywords effectively, you can optimize your PPC campaigns for success.

At Get Digital, we understand the nuances of keyword targeting and offer expert PPC services to help you achieve your marketing goals. Contact us today to learn how we can enhance your PPC strategy and drive measurable results.

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