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Targeting Keywords & Google Adwords Keyword Tool

broad vs phrase vs exact match differences

6:58 am on May 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 3, 2008
posts: 35
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I have an ecommerce site that is ranking well for a bunch of keywords,
but I am seeing strange effects.

For instance, on several of my keywords, I am ranking in #4 or #5
position. Google adwords keyword tool shows 50k - 100k monthly
searches for each, but I get little to no traffic from these keywords!

I started thinking, and I was playing with the google keyword tool.
Here's what I found:

Some keywords had tons of broad match results, but very few phrase
or exact match results, telling me that this keyword was not actually
typed in very often, but because it was generic, it was getting all its
"search results" because it was part of another, longer keyword -
i.e. it was a subphrase of a longer one.

Some keywords had much lower broad match, but their search vol
fell off slowly and stayed higher, even with exact match.

When I looked at my google analytics, guess what? The keywords
whose exact match and phrase match search volume fell off more slowly
were ones that gave me more traffic!

I think I'm on to something - has anyone researched this?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

4:10 pm on June 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 14, 2003
votes: 16

When google says 50k - 100k they mean impressions. This means that people have typed in the keyword in google that many times. They can do all kinds of things after that search. Some might just search for something else and not click. Some only click on the first 3 results. Some only click on the adwords ads. Some only click on the first result. A very small portion are going to click past position 3.

When people type in a general term there is a very good chance they are not going to hang out there. They will find out very quickly that what they typed in was too general and will type in a more specific term.

One thing you can do is go to your keyword list in Google analytics and go to the bottom you will see a pull down box that says "containing". In the box next to that type in your root phrase. This will give you a list of all the terms that were typed in using that phrase.

A general term is sometimes called a head phrase. Most people that type this in are browsing. People start off general and get more specific. When they are ready to buy that start typing in very specific search terms that are longer and these are called long tail terms.

7:07 pm on Aug 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

joined:July 29, 2007
votes: 9

If you're talking about pages that you titled the same as an exact match suggestion then your analytics report makes sense but, as with anything, take those reports with a grain of salt because the keyword tool has many quirks.

Several of my best performing pages/keywords cannot be found using the exact match keyword tool in the way you describe, as if some specific combinations aren't reported.

More interestingly, if you search for an exact match term of say 3 generic words (big blue widgets) you see its value and a lot of variations whose values go down from there. If you look closely you may see FAST big blue widgets and NEW big blue widgets offering almost as many views as the simple 3 word term and the figures slowly drop off.

Now you'd expect that list to be comprehensive but it isn't. You'll find that many of these exact match domains were hoarded long ago and parked BUT there are many other combinations NOT on the list that may actually have MORE traffic than the original 3 words.

Example: PERFECT big blue widgets might be searched for more than just big blue widgets but the word "perfect" doesn't even appear on the list. If you type in perfect big blue widgets the tool does tell you its trafficked but if you didn't specify the word perfect yourself the tool simply doesn't return that data.

So while the rush is on to grab every domain name the tool reports as an exact match with traffic it's very possible to find even better exact matches that the tool DOES have data for but won't display unless you ask for it specifically.