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Phrase vs. Exact

biswatch
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Phrase vs. Exact

What is the difference between the two? Which do you prefer and why?

Thank you!
Steve
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joshuas
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Hi Steve,

Phrase means people are searching at least 2 or more words in the exact order of your search term. Exact means the number of people searching for that exact search term.

Example:

Search term: 'affiliate marketing tips tutorial'

Some Phrase combinations (the ones in bold are the phrase matches):

"affiliate tips tutorial"
"marketing tips tutorial"
"affiliate marketing tips"
"affiliate marketing tutorial"

Exact match (only one): "affiliate marketing tips tutorial"

I prefer using the exact match most of the time because it's much more targeted. Sometimes depending on the search term the meaning and intent of the search can be entirely different. It's not so bad with Phrase, but I definitely wouldn't use Broad.

Hope that helps,
Joshua
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biswatch
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Thanks a lot Joshuas!
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cecille.l
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Clear, correct and concise explanation! Thanks Joshuas! =)

I really don't have a preference between the two so long as my target keywords will be used in the search.
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Cecille


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biswatch
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Interesting. Looking through AffiloBlueprint it seems that Mark has a preference for Broad. Anyone know why?
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gradyp
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Just out of curiosity, I did a keyword search for "best guitar lessons".

Broad match: 5,400 searches
Exact match: 1,900 searches
Phrase match: 1,000 searches

Why does this matter?

When analyzing the results for determining how much traffic you might expect, the broad match will give you that. As you can see, the traffic to that keyword phrase is fairly significant. But only 1000 of those are searching using a phrase match.

The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of searches are broad match searches. Think to your own searches. How often do you really try to do a phrase or a exact search? I know for myself, unless I am looking for specific words together, for example "Grady Pruitt" as one phrase as opposed to "Grady" or "Pruitt", I generally use a broad match search.

Now, doing an exact search in the search engine (as opposed to the keyword tool) can give you an idea of the competition. But that kind of a search doesn't take into account how well they have optimized their site. Which is why for evaluating competition, it is better to use a tool like Traffic Travis to use a number of factors, including both on page and off page SEO, that could help in judging your competition as well as your potential for ranking.

But checking the "closely related" box will pull up some interesting thoughts. For example, if you just looked at the exact search for evaluating your pages, you'd most likely miss out on seeing that "best online guitar lessons" is a subset of the broad match search. You'd also miss on seeing that "guitar lessons best" or "guitar best lessons" or even "lessons guitar best" are ways people might type in the phrase. (BTW, under a broad match search, if you were to check, each of these would have identical search figures. Try entering them in and checking the "closely related" button to see what I mean.)

There's a difference between using an exact match to evaluate competition in the search engines, and using broad match to evaluate traffic in the keyword tool.
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biswatch
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Great point. But using Broad would also include phrases like "guitar" or simply "lessons" wouldn't it? That is totally unspecific traffic that could skew the value of the keyword no?
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gradyp
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I don't think it does skew the results. Remember, in the KEYWORD TOOL, you're trying to find out the traffic a given keyword might have. And if you look, it gives different results for "guitar", "lesson", "guitar lesson", and "best guitar lesson". Now, the results on "guitar" DO include "guitar lesson" which, also in turn, includes "best guitar lesson".

Now, on the search results for the SEARCH ENGINE, you're right, that would skew things. But for evaluating a keyword, we're using the KEYWORD TOOL, not the SEARCH ENGINE.
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gradyp
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If you notice, the more general terms have higher search volumes. This is because they contain results for all the subsets. In the keyword tool, "guitar" would include results not only for "guitar lesson", but also for "guitar parts", "guitar chords", "guitar brands", "guitar picks", etc. But the search volumes for "guitar lessons" is ALWAYS smaller than the volumes listed for "guitar". (Regardless of whether you use "broad", "exact", or "phrase" match.)
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biswatch
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Hah, I understand what you are saying but still a bit confused. Although guitar contains best guitar lessons for example, it also contains "blow up guitar" and "smash guitar against wall videos." That's why using keyword tool with Broad seems strange because you aren't targeting your market as well. Am I right or wrong?
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cecille.l
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When searching for keywords to use, Mark suggests you use Broad because this gathers all possible keywords for your niche. As Grady pointed out:
If you notice, the more general terms have higher search volumes. This is because they contain results for all the subsets.


You use Broad when searching for keywords using a Keyword Tool because this brings up all related keywords and how much traffic these keywords have. This helps you see the big picture. Once you have seen which keywords have the most traffic, you can then start choosing which ones to use.
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gradyp
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Biswatch,

That's one reason why using the "closely related to my terms" box can be helpful. For example, say at first, you searched for "guitar". Then you decided to search for "guitar lessons" without the box checked. Then, you'd get results for "guitars" and results for "lessons" and maybe even a few for "guitar lessons". So, yes, this might seem to cause problems.

But, if you check the box to limit the search, then it will limit it to the "guitar lessons" or anything that might have both terms.

I just ran a check for broad match with "guitar lessons" with the box unchecked, and there are a few that aren't related to guitar lessons, but not as many as you might think. It really tries to match for the combination before it lists general results for the "display number" specified.
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biswatch
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. All of your advice, coupled with an amazing tutorial via Market Samurai has given me the insight I need.

From the video I especially learned that:
Exact - Short term traffic you can expect to receive
Phrase - Mid term traffic you can expect to receive
Broad - Long term traffic you can expect to receive

It's definitely worth a look. I'm curious to hear feedback on it as well.
http://www.noblesamurai.com/dojo/market ... -type-data
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bent
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Phrase match is when someone enters your keyword as part of a sentence, which is also called long tail queries.
Exact match is when the keyword is entered in Google as it is, with no suffix or prefix. If you are looking for traditional bum marketing then look consider phrase match results. But for proper keyword research I suggest you always and only count exact match figures.
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