A fundamental rule of pay per click is that you want your ad to match the user’s exact search as closely as possible. This close match informs Google, as well as the user, that yours is the ad to click on. As a bonus these closely matched ads have the highest click through rates. These high click through rates increase your quality score….. and this means a lower cost per click for you.

There are really three ways to best match your ad to a user’s exact search query:

1. Be Wary of the Match Type

AdWords allows for different match types, and each one matches your keywords to the user’s search queries in different ways. The way AdWords is set by default is on broad match and that has the loosest matching properties. Broad match provides Google leeway to decide which words are “close enough” to the user’s search query. So even if you were, for example a Santa Barbara pizza parlor that wanted to advertise on AdWords and the keywords you put in the AdWords interface was Santa Barbara Pizza your ad could (and does) still appear for searches like frozen pizza. If you are truly concerned about matching the user’s search query than change your match type. You can put your keywords in either exact match by putting [] around it like [santa barbara pizza parlor] (exact match means your keyword has to exactly match what the user typed in) or utilize broad match modifier by putting a plus sign in front of the words that must be included in the search like +santa +barbara +pizza +parlor. This would allow a user to type in What is the best pizza parlor in Santa Barbara and your ad would show because every word with a plus in front of it is in the search query.

  1. Bonus – This article shows you how to see the actual search queries the users searched for. You can use that to find new keywords or to add the keywords that you don’t want as negatives.

2. Include the Keyword in the Headline and Description Line

Placing the keyword in the headline as well as the description line demonstrates to the user that you are a match. As a bonus Google bolds these exact matches in your ad  to further show the user that you are the the most relevant choice. As an example, when I type in Philadelphia Ford Dealership like so:

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Here are two ads that appear – one includes the exact keywords and is in bold and the other does not. Which would  you click on:

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3. Include the Keyword in the Display URL

This is kind of a weasel move, but it works really well. The display URL is (as it sounds) the part of the ad where you display a URL to the user. However the trick is…..it isn’t the actual URL you send the user to. It is simply there to show that you are sending a user to a website, as long as you match to the .com, the rest is up to you to use to throw in extra keywords. Including the keyword in here is an underused, but powerful way to demonstrate that you are the right choice and to match what the user searched for. This is best understood by an example.

As you can see from this search for hotels in New York:

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This ad has the display URL of

booking.com/new-york-hotels which is a great match

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 4.45.38 PMhotel new york Google Search

However, it is not really takes me when I click on the ad. When I click on the ad I am taken to a much much longer URL-


But, adding that helped match my initial search query and would be a much more clickable ad than simply booking.com/cities/us/new-york or even just booking.com

How have you found ways to match user’s search queries?