Recently released news from Google will definitely affect your Adwords campaign. If you aren’t familiar with Google Adwords, it is the paid advertisements that show at the top and bottom of the page when someone types in a search query. When an online shopper clicks on the ad, then the person that ran the ad gets charged, which is why it is also called pay-per-click.
The update has to do with exact match keywords and the use of close variants from those phrases. Misspellings were a big reason why Google started using close variants, but abbreviations and plurals were also exceptions. The original update happened in 2012, but Adwords users could opt out of allowing variants and only use exact match keywords.
The ability to opt out was taken away in 2014, and it was supposed to save time for anyone managing an Adwords account. Instead of having to research and build out a list of exact match keywords, Google was letting phrases like “SEO Company” and “Search Engine Optimization Companies” be close variants of each other. What this means is that when an online user typed in either phrase, your ad would potentially show.
Fast forward a couple more years with Google relying heavily on machine learning capabilities for online search, and now the game is changing even more. Not only will your ad show with the above example, but now the order of the words can vary. So, “Denver SEO Companies” and “Search Engine Optimization Company Denver” would also be close variants.
This post from Marketing Land echoes this update:
Google is making a big change to exact match keyword targeting in AdWords
On Friday afternoon, Google announced another change to the way exact match keyword targeting works for search ads. Matching for close variants — plurals, typos, abbreviations, adverbs and so on — will be broadened to include variations in word order and function words in the coming months. With this change, Google may ignore word order and function words when determining whether a search ad should trigger for an exact match keyword. In other words, exact truly no longer means exact.
The other change that is mentioned above is with function words such as “a”, “the”, and “for” will be ignored. Continuing with our previous example, “a Denver SEO Company” would also match. Google has enough confidence in their system of artificial intelligence that it will not allow phrases that don’t match, such as “John Denver Companies”.
The next video provides an excellent review of the different types of keyword choices when setting up an Adwords account:
Is Adwords recent update helpful to all users? My guess would be no. However, there are some businesses that will benefit from the change, and this is outlined in the WordStream post below:
Breaking: Exact Match Keywords No Longer Exact Match | WordStream
Some small advertisers may benefit from this change. Local advertisers uniquely benefit from the simplicity of this new exact match. For instance, let’s say you were advertising your new hotel in Boston’s Copley Square. Previously, the exact match keyword [Hotel Copley Square] would only show your ad to that exact search query Hotel Copley Square. You’d have to create multiple keywords or experiment with other match types to get more traffic. Now that exact match keyword [Hotel Copley Square] will attract a lot more relevant searches that you might not immediately consider such as Copley Square Hotel, Hotel in Copley Square, Hotel on Copley Square, Hotel near Copley Square, Hotel by Copley Square, etc.
Read the original post here: Breaking: Exact Match Keywords No Longer Exact Match | WordStream
With that said, Adwords users that include long-tail keywords in specific niches need to review their Adwords account, as do brand advertisers. The change allows less specific keyword phrases than what was intended be part of the query. One solution will be adding in as many negative keywords necessary to narrow the search back down so you aren’t paying for clicks that don’t produce results.