Keyword Research Using Broad and Exact Match

When researching keywords to use to optimise your website you are normally looking for phrases containing 2 to 5 words that have a reasonably high search volume with low competition. The ideal situation is to find a keyword which is very relevant to your product or service that millions of people are searching for each month but no other websites are optimised for.

Dream on, this never happens!

Choosing the right keywords is always a bit of a compromise. You need to get your website on page one of Google, preferably in the top 3 as this is where most of the traffic is. You also need to consider how well a keyword will convert, more specific keywords, that are relevant, will convert much better.

For example: If you sell shoes on the Internet and you optimise your website for the word “shoes” and you manage to get on page one of Google, your visitors from this keyword could be looking for any type of shoes, they may be researching shoes or just looking for pictures.
Whereas, if you optimised your website for “ladies designer shoes for sale” if you sell these, this phrase will convert a lot better.

I think I digress a bit, so back to the broad and exact match.

Go to the Google keyword tool and search for shoes
You wil find that there are 68,000,000 searches per month globally for shoes. This does not mean every month 68 million people go to google a type in shoes.
It does mean however that 68 million searches on average every month containing the word shoes.

If you look at the exact match figure is shows 1,000,000. So there are approximately 1 million searches each month for the word shoes.

Let’s get more specific.
Ladies designer shoes broad match 2,900 Globally
Ladies designer shoes exact match 720 Globally
Ladies designer shoes broad match 1,300 Locally (UK)
Ladies designer shoes exact match 480 Locally (UK)

If you are selling ladies designer shoes and you go to the Google research tool and type in “ladies designer shoes” as see the global broad match of 2,900 you might thing that if you got on page one of Google for this phrase you could get nearly 3,000 visitors per month for this keyword alone.

Lets work out exactly how much traffic you could receive from this one keyword. The broad match figure is the number of searches which includes the 3 words ‘ladies’, ‘designer’ & ‘shoes’ in any order and including any other words.

The number of searches each month just for this phrase globally is 720 . If your target marketing is just in the UK the figure would be 480.

When you achieve a number one position on Google for this one keyword you will receive approximately 35%-40% of the traffic, 480 x 40% = 192
Position 2 receives approx. 20%-25%, 480 x 25% = 120
Position 3 receives approx. 10%-15%, 480 x 15% = 72
Posistions 3 – 10 receive approc 1% – 3%, 480 x 1% – 3% = 5 – 14

With a page one listing you could receive 5 -14 targeted visitors per month. No wonder people get disappointed whe they are expecting 2,900 visitors.

This is why you should be optimsing your website for as many keyword words as possible. The more the better. You could then get top rankings for more than one exact match phrase and get rankings for many “secondary phrases”

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Roger Weavers

Roger has been working in the telecomms and IT industry since 1973 working for international companies such as BT and Honeywell. Roger founded Sytec Computers Ltd in 1996 and provided consultancy services to a variety of UK companies. In 2001 Sytec diversified into web design, marketing and hosting and now Roger specialises in SEO.

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  • Interesting post Roger,
    I always go after long tailed Keywords but never knew what type of breakdown I was likely to get. I can see now how getting to No. 1 is so important because even for the example you have used above anything outside the Top 3 is worth very little to you.

  • Hi Noel,

    Getting ranked in positions 4 – 10 is still worth doing. I have some pages ranked at position 6 and 8 that are still bringing in 3% to 7% of the exact match search volume. The CTR will depend a lot the title and meta descriptions and the competition. By getting these top rankings you will find that you will also get traffic from hundreds of secondary, or long tail keywords. With my SEO clients I am only optimising for 5 – 20 keywords but they get traffic from around 300 – 1000 different keywords.

    I will post something about how to select the best keywords for SEO

    All the Best

  • Simon

    Nice stuff :). Cool to get a real breakdown, without having to read through 10000 words of stuff you don’t understand; so, valuable article!

  • Hi Roger,I am not an expert on SEO although I do know a bit. SEO can be time consuming then Google comes along with updates such as Panda and more recently, Penguin, I believe. How much do these updates effect all your SEO efforts? Does one have to continually change tactics to keep up with Google?
    Would like to know your thoughts.
    Best wishes,

  • Hey Roger

    Very interesting and informative article it got me thinking 😉 When you talk about long tailed keywords – am I right in thinking that this has something to do with Latent Sematic Indexing or…?

    Would appreciate your imput


  • Hi Gerald,
    All the new updates are targeting poor quality sites so providing you have good quality sites and does use any spammy techniques you will be fine. All the old ‘white hat’ techniques are still valid.


  • Hi Paul,

    Long tail keywords are normally key phrases with 5 or more words. These have low search volumes and in my opinion should not be targeted for SEO. If you target the the right keywords for SEO, 2-5 words, then you should get good rankings for many long tail keywords as well.

    LSI is something completely different. When writing content about a certain subject you will use related words and Google can pick up on this. For example, if you are writing an article about driving, Google may expect to see words like ‘road’ and ‘car’ etc. I believe Google uses this to devalue pages with lots of unrelated links. Your page must have a theme. Keyword density is not as important as it used to be but using words similar or related to your keywords will help. This is just the way I see it so I hope this makes sense.


  • Hi Roger
    You know, when you put it like that I wonder why anyone bothers with SEO. I realise what ‘can’ be achieved but it’s so tough…and an ever-moving target.
    Maybe one day I’ll start to understand 🙂
    BTW, I’ve added your blog to my Google Reader.

  • Hey Roger

    Thanks for your reply. It did make perfect sense. So we all really need to think seriously about what we place within our articles to ensure that the language / words used is relevant to the content.

    Thank again

  • Hey Roger,

    I’m pretty new to SEO and so far I can only dream of having a page 1 ranking for my websites. So my question is, how do you add these keywords into your website? Do you just have content containing the keywords you wish to be ranked for?

    Sorry for the newbie question, but I am fairly new to SEO.

  • Hi Rocky,

    Thanks for your comment. SEO is divided into 2 parts. On page optimisation and off page optimisation.
    Take a look through this site starting with Introduction to SEM and follow on to keyword research, on page optimisation and off page optimisation.
    I will be following this series with SMO (Social Media optimisation) but not got around to writing yet.
    Feel from to contact me if you have any questions.


  • This is one rocking blog you have, Roger. I can’t believe I fell asleep last night when I as commenting on everybody’s blog.

    I really like how you break down everything. This is one very impressive post I just say. I was only explaining this to my potential clients only so-so after all. This helps me very much, indeed.

  • Hi Miggy,

    Thanks for your comments. Meeting clients expectations can be really difficult sometimes. SEO does take time and there are only ten slots on page one of Google. I produce an extensive keyword and SEO report for my prospective clients to let them know exactly what results they can exact. If the want instant results I offer them a PPC service until the SEO kicks in.

    All the best

  • Hey Roger,

    Great post, looking forward to the next one.

    Good work
    Daniel Carton.

  • Hi Rodger,

    It makes my head hurt when doing keyword research. Broad, Phrase, Exact?? I know what each type means and does but don’t really understand why Google uses Broad as their default search. IMO it should display exact match as default and if the searcher want more they can expand outward from there. If you search for a 3 word phrase chances are you want that 3 word phrase as you typed it not all jumbled about throughout the article.

    If I’m looking for … black cowboy boots… thats what I want not a cowboy in black boots or boots with a cowboy on them that are black and red.

    Doesn’t it seem like the exact results should filter to the top then everything else? Idk, maybe it’s just me. Then again, their Adwords might not get near the clicks if people actually found what they were looking for on the first couple pages…hmmm.

    Darren Dillman

  • Hi Darren,

    I find that broad match can be useful for niche research and when doing initial keyword research. You can get a feel for the market. Using your example the broad match figure for …black cowboy boots… will also include search volume for all kinds of phrases like …black boots for cowboys… etc. some you may want to rank for and some you won’t. But optimising for one will help your ranking for many of the others. If you optimise for 5 closely related keywords you could ranking for many other similar keywords as well.

    Each match type does have a use and as you have an understanding you have a realistic idea of the traffic you can expect.

    Adwords is a different beast altogether. I may do a few posts on this sometime in the future.

    All the best

  • Hi Roger,

    Brilliant post. I’d love to talk to you more about paid traffic and some other stuff. Hope you’re enjoying Spain!
    I agree with you too about using broad match to get a feel for the market – it IS good for that. 🙂

    Will definitely check out the rest of your blog too – and I wish you all the best with your goals. Clare x

  • Hi Clare,
    Thanks for your comments. Feel free to drop me an email or contact me on Skype if you want to chat.