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Google Expanded Match: Background and Pointers

Many Google AdWords advertisers use broad match for their keywords, but few realize that using broad match also automatically activates expanded match. Expanded match, according to Google’s definition is:

With broad match, the Google AdWords system automatically runs your ads on relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren’t in your keyword lists. Keyword variations can include synonyms, singular/plural forms, relevant variants of your keywords, and phrases containing your keywords.

For example, if you’re currently running ads on the broad-matched keyword web hosting, your ads may show for the search queries web hosting company or webhost.

Recently Google AdWords launched a great new tool – the Search Query Report. This report allows you to see the actual queries that displayed your ad on Google. In the past, advertisers could only pull reports based on the keywords they provided to Google, but advertisers could not see the actual queries themselves. This report allows advertisers to now see the actual expanded match queries that generate their ads.

There are three main types of expanded match results you should be primarily concerned with:

  1. Synonyms : Many times, the synonyms are not truly synonyms for your keywords, depending on your industry, service or product. For example, one client I have sells a product with the name “Storm Case” – it’s a ruggedized shipping case. In this example, Google assumed that the word “storm” is synonymous with the word “hurricane” and in turn served the ad for queries such as “hurricane vase” – a completely unrelated product.

    In another case, competitors’ brand names were considered synonyms to the advertiser’s brand name – even though the advertiser was not actively attempting conquesting campaigns against its competition.

  2. Misspellings : As mentioned in the synonyms example, sometimes misspellings generate a completely unrelated term, such as “case” and “vase”.
  3. Other Languages : Even though you select your language and country for each campaign, I’ve found that Google occasionally serves an ad when a keyword that you’ve provided is searched in other languages. In one client’s case, a keyword we provided generated an ad when searched in Hebrew, Spanish and Japanese.

By using the Search Query Report to find new negative keywords and add them to the campaigns, we were able to nearly double conversions almost overnight – it was truly that dramatic.

Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo, a full-service search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising management agency.

Category SEO
Google Expanded Match: Background and Pointers

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