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Exact keyword matching no longer means exact, with Google broadening the way in which exact match keyword targeting work for Search ads. Emil has the details.

“Back in 2012, Google introduced ‘close variants’ – a way to capture words or phrases that weren’t quite the exact keyword/phrase that had been targeted – perhaps due to pluralisation, misspelling, typos etc. This helped to broaden the reach and coverage, as well as save time when building keyword lists – you’d be there forever if you had to also identify common misspellings, pluralisation etc.

This ‘clos variant’ matching is now being broadened even further and, in coming months, will also include differing word order and function words. An example used by Google when announcing this is people searching for “running shoes” and “shoes for running” – despite the slight differences in the words and phrasing, the two searches ultimately want the same thing – and Google’s algorithms know this.

While previously, advertisers could opt out of this kind of matching, Google removed this option in 2014, and continues to push its machine learning and AI capabilities when it comes to matching keywords/phrases and all the variants against advertisers’ accounts.

Google says “Early tests show advertisers may see up to 3% more exact match clicks on average while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates.”

In terms of ‘function words’ – prepositions (in, to), Conjunctions (for, but), articles (a, the) and other non-impacting words – these will generally be ignored in future search matching, and this will only happen when the removal of the function word has no impact on the meaning of the keyword(s). Again, a Google example is the “in” in “hotels in new York” which would be removed. However, the “to” in “flights to new York” would not be ignored, because the variant is “from” and “flights from new York” is a different query.

You can read all the details about this up-coming change over on the AdWords blog.”

Image credit: AdWords blog