Search queries, the exact word or phrases a person types, are a vital clue into the objectives of the searcher and how valuable that person is to your business.

The goal of your paid-search campaigns is to have your text ads matched with the most appropriate search queries, providing a relevant experience for the searcher and a more likely prospect for you. Keywords are the tool to use to get to the most relevant search queries.

Suppose you sell organic dog food and buy the keywords "organic dog food" (using the standard Broad match). Your ad might be shown to someone who wants "vegan organic dog food," "Blue Buffalo organic dog food," "organic dog food reviews," or even someone looking for "organic dog food safety recall."

Is each searcher relevant to you? Are all the search queries equally valuable? Can you write a single text ad that matches the intent of each of those queries and inspires searchers to click and convert?

The answer, likely, is no. Yet, search queries don't play as prominent a role in paid-search management as they should, especially with Broad-match and Phrase-match campaigns.

Match Types and Search Queries

Match types help you to expose your ads to the searchers who create the long tail of search queries. Using Broad or Phrase match types, for example, gets your ad shown to users when their search query doesn't exactly match your keywords.

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Craig Danuloff is president and founder of ClickEquations (, a paid-search platform for large advertisers and agencies.