Exactish Match – Google’s war on keyword match types

I’m going to put this out there first – I like close variants (please don’t hate me, I’ll explain why later in the post). However, in the last few weeks, Google has been increasingly influencing control over your exact match keywords by adjusting their exact match type algorithm to include loads of ‘other stuff’. No one should like this.

Exactish Match Keywords


What is this ‘other stuff’?

  • Function Words – On their own they don’t have meaning (that, but, some, be, etc.) but they give context to phrases & sentences. Google are so confident in their machine learning that they may now ignore, replace or even add them. This could open exact match up to a whole new world of additional traffic.

For example, [ppc specialists uk] could match the query “ppc specialists in the uk”. Quite a drastic change if you have a very tight campaign structure.

  • Word Order – Is this Google having a stab at #nofilter ? I don’t know about you, but when I analyse an SQR and find relevant queries in different word orders they’re pulled out into their own ad groups. This is for ad relevancy and more control with negative keywords, extensions & audiences. We all want every opportunity to increase quality score. Google has other ideas, as per the example above, [ppc specialists uk] could match “uk ppc specialists”. Now Google are stating they would always try to match queries with exact keywords if available. That isn’t explicitly confirming the variation of word order wouldn’t trigger elsewhere. Google’s argument here is that the intent is the same – yes it is, but my ad might not be optimised to this new word order mate!

Breathe. OK, so we’re not happy with this big shift in the exact match algorithm change, but let’s talk close variant matching as mentioned previously.

Back in the not so distant past, exact match keywords triggered for a user’s exact search query & close variants of that query. Close variants can include;

  • Plurals
  • Adverbs
  • Typos
  • Abbreviations

Many berate close variants but they can work well in some account structures. At least 7% of Google searches contain misspellings so we’re potentially tapping into that additional traffic – ever searched eBay for common spelling mistakes in the hope of grabbing a bargain? You may be grabbing cheeky click bargains from these close variants! Also, these valuable opportunities may be missed by ‘low search volume’ keywords because Google also is waging war on these too y’know.

What can you do about this change?

Continue optimising your accounts, pay close attention to the SQR’s and use negatives to direct traffic to the right ad groups where necessary. You can still break down an AdWords account to a very granular level but you have to be that little bit more ‘on the ball’ to ensure you retain ultimate control!

Do you feel you miss the latest Google AdWords updates and feature releases? If so, then contact Mabo today to see how your PPC advertising could benefit from working with our team of PPC management specialists.

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