google keyword toolThis blog post will show you three things:

  1. How keywords are different from actual words;
  2. How different keyword match types can change one keyword into another keyword;
  3. How you can create lots of keywords by using the 7 different keyword match types as well as different word combinations.

Keywords are important to anyone who interested in advertising using Google, Yahoo or Bing, because keywords are the building blocks of search engine marketing — but they function very differently from actual words.  This is why you can create a staggering number of keywords from just a handful of words.  As I will show below, you can create at least 28 different keywords using only the words  ‘blue’ and ‘shoes.’

How Are Keywords Different from Regular Words?

This topic will be easier for you to understand if you stop thinking about keywords as words.  Keywords are representations of thoughts as expressed by characters that are typed into a search engine, or more simply, keywords are simply thoughts.

In addition to that, there are 7 keyword match types: broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, exact match, negative broad match, negative phrase match, and negative exact match.  Each one works differently, and each one can be applied to the same keyword to change how it works in AdWords.  (In another post I’ll go into more depth about how each different keyword match type affects keyword behavior in AdWords.)

How To Create 28 Keywords Using Just Two Actual Words

So here is how two words (in this example, ‘blue’ and ‘shoes’) can be used to create 28 different keywords: you can create four broad match keywords, five modified broad match keywords, four phrase match keywords, four exact match keywords, three negative broad match keywords, four negative phrase match keywords, and four negative exact match keywords.

Here they are:

Broad Match (word order matters for broad match):

  • blue shoes
  • shoes blue
  • blue
  • shoes

Modified Broad Match (word order doesn’t matter for modified broad match):

  • +blue +shoes
  • +shoes blue
  • shoes +blue
  • +blue
  • +shoes

Phrase Match: 

  • “blue shoes”
  • “shoes blue”
  • “blue”
  • “shoes”

Exact Match:

  • [shoes blue]
  • [blue shoes]
  • [blue]
  • [shoes]

Negative Broad Match:

  • -blue shoes
  • -blue
  • -shoes

Negative Phrase Match: 

  • -“blue shoes”
  • -“shoes blue”
  • -“blue”
  • -“shoes”

Negative Exact Match:

  • -[blue shoes]
  • -[shoes blue]
  • -[blue]
  • -[shoes]

So there you have it.  Using just two works, we have created 28 different keywords.  This should help you understand why it was necessary for Google to limit standard AdWords accounts to a maximum of 50,000 keywords.  It should also help you understand why 50,000 keywords is insufficient for many advertisers, and they often request (and get) exemptions from Google in order to go beyond 50,000 keywords in their account.

By the way, if I happened to miss any possible keywords that could be created, please let me know in the comments!

Will Marlow is a search engine marketing consultant who loves helping people find awesome keywords, and holds four certificationsGoogle Analytics Certification, Google AdWords Search Certification, Google AdWords Display Certification, and certification as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.