Understanding The Difference Between Broad, Exact, and Phrase Match

Optimizing SEO for your website and online presence can be one of the most complicated matters for anyone who is not familiar with the many layers of online marketing and how search engines function. While many people might know that you need good keywords in whatever page you post online, it can be a little more difficult knowing how the different types of keywords work in terms of SEO.

Understanding the difference between different keyword matches can help you optimize your web page much more than assuming they all mean the same thing. So, for anyone working to optimize their web pages who might not know the difference between broad match keywords, exact match keywords, and phrase match keywords, here is some information that should help you understand the difference:

What are they?

Broad match – When keywords contain all of the words in the search, but they may be in any order and the search can include other words as well, also in any order.

Phrase match –  Phrase match also includes all of the words in the search and keywords, but they must be in order. The phrase, however, can include other words before or after the actual phrase.

Exact match –  Contrary to both of the other matches for keywords, exact match must contain only the keywords and in the exact order as they are put together.

What’s the difference?

Well, the difference comes down to the pool of results that are tallied for the different search types. Basically, broad match searches will always produce a higher volume of results since it aggregates results from all of the words in the search without there needing to be any order to the words.

For instance, searching for “red flower decorations” would collect all of the pages with the words red, flower, and decorations on them regardless of their order. Phrase match and exact match, however, only would provide results that include that actual phrase “red flower decorations.” Of course, phrase match will likely have more results than exact match.

What does this mean?

Well, the answer depends. This can mean a lot of different things, but the most important thing to take away is how this affects your keywords. Depending on which type of keywords you use, you will be matched more or less accurately to the queries that match the information you’re providing. This means that you should pick your key words and their match type accordingly. If there is a high enough search volume for a certain phrase that matches the information on your site, you should keyword that phrase as a phrase match as that will be most accurate to your targets. However, if there is very little search volume on the exact phrase, then you might want to create keywords that have a broad match to commonly searched words and phrases.

At the end of the day, understanding the difference between the different match types only heightens the ceiling to optimizing your pages and your keywords, but it is a crucial lesson to learn if you are interested in developing pages that utilize effective keywords to match people’s search queries.

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