If you’ve ever conducted keyword research using Google Keyword research tool you’ll be familiar with the different terms Broad Match, Exact Match & Phrase- but what exactly do they mean?

internet security key

Broad Match

Broad match lists all your search words in any order and includes words other people have used to conduct your search. As an example if you used the terms ‘Melbourne’, ‘Web’ and ‘Design’ as your keywords for research the total as of May 2013 will total 3,456,677,888. I find broad match useless most of the time unless you are searching for one-word terms. You can easily see if more people search for Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne but otherwise its too broad.

Phrase Match

Phrase match contains all the words in the order you’ve requested but can include other words before and after as well.

An example might be: “great Melbourne web design” or “Melbourne web design agencies” when your keyword phase your researching is “Melbourne web design”.

Exact Match:

Contains only the selected words in that exact order. Search totals will be a lot smaller as obviously far less people search for “Great melbourne web design agencies” than they do “Melbourne Web Design”. If you have found an exact match phrase that has low competition then you stand a good chance of being discovered if you aim for that phrase. That’s why really drilling down into the exact match keyword research can lead to the best results.


  1. Broad Match will often give you huge visitor numbers but for most businesses is fairly meaningless. For the most part in my research I always search using exact match initially and then move onto Phrase Match once I have discovered some keywords where my clients can compete.
  2. When you’re using the Google Keyword research tool make sure you login using your Google Gmail account as the results vary wildly between logging in and not logging in.
  3. If you’re a small business owner on a limited budget it might be best to ensure you select your country of research so you can concentrate on data that will send you targeted traffic.



Digital Marketing - 13 Jun 2013 - by Rob Jennings

About Rob Jennings

When he found himself embroiled in a conversation with someone talking about their ‘customer-centric core competencies’ he realised it was time to create a Web Design Agency that was less about self promoting buzz-words and more about people and giving them the tools to understand the web.

The idea behind We Push Buttons was to create an environment where business owners can learn about building their organisation, whether it be with an outstanding website, SEO or any other marketing ideas. Coming from the art industry and online retail background he knows first hand the needs of growing a business in a tough environment.