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Google Ends Exact and Phrase Keyword Match Ability in AdWords; Now Applying Close Variant Keyword Matching

At least 7% of Google searches contain a misspelling, according to a new post on Google’s Inside AdWords blog. However, people still want to find what they’re looking for even if they haven’t spelled it correctly.

That’s why Google has announced that they’re applying close variant keyword matching to all exact and phrase match keywords starting in September.

Close variant keyword matching is an intuitive way to return the correct results that users are searching for. It was introduced in 2012, and Google says advertisers have seen strong results. “Advertisers are receiving an average of 7% more exact and phrase match clicks with comparable clickthrough and conversion rates.”

These incremental increases in clicks help advertisers seize opportunities to convert customers that are otherwise missed by “Low search volume” keywords that are common for misspellings and abbreviations.

Google’s announcement contains testimonials from three advertisers. Here’s one from Stitch America:

“In matching common stemming variants such as “custom hats” for “customized hats”, we’ve seen five times as many clicks for exact and phrase match keywords. What’s more impressive is that this additional traffic costs half as much.”

Close variant matching was already the default setting for campaigns, which means most advertisers won’t see a change in keyword matching behavior. The option to disable close variants will be removed in September.

Advertisers will no longer be able to build extensive lists of misspelled, abbreviated, and other close variations of your keywords. Instead, Google recommends to focus on adding negative keywords–including close variants you don’t want to match for–to shape traffic and reduce cost.

In addition to improving your campaigns’ ROI with an improved click-through rate and lower cost per click, with this update Google also wants to help deliver a better ad experience for your customers.

To learn more about keyword matching options, please see Google’s Help Center article.

 Google Ends Exact and Phrase Keyword Match Ability in AdWords; Now Applying Close Variant Keyword Matching

Matt Southern

Freelance Writer at MattSouthern.com
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert articles he contributes to many well respected publications across the web. Contact him via his website if you'd like him to write for you.
 Google Ends Exact and Phrase Keyword Match Ability in AdWords; Now Applying Close Variant Keyword Matching

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2 thoughts on “Google Ends Exact and Phrase Keyword Match Ability in AdWords; Now Applying Close Variant Keyword Matching

  1. “These incremental increases in clicks help a̶d̶v̶e̶r̶t̶i̶s̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶s̶e̶i̶z̶e̶ ̶o̶p̶p̶o̶r̶t̶u̶n̶i̶t̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶v̶e̶r̶t̶ ̶c̶u̶s̶t̶o̶m̶e̶r̶s̶ Google make more money.”

    Fixed that for you, Google.

  2. They need to provide a way for real users to provide feedback on their matching.

    Years ago an overnight change in their matching resulted in them considering “account” to be a match for “accountant”. Obviously not a good match for user intent.

    And interestingly, one my accountants apparently had a better quality score and average position of 1 then Google had for something like “free gmail account”.

    Anyway, while I reported this to the Adwords support team, it went on for years. I only know because I monitored it. I of course added “account” as a negative, but I think with this increased matching, they should also have better systems in place to train their matching algorithm using user feedback.