By: Caitlin Garcia

No More Google Exact Match

In March, Google announced some pretty significant-sounding changes to their Exact Match keyword functionality. Historically Exact Match provided the safest way to bid on keywords in Google AdWords. With Exact Match, a user had to type in the exact word you were bidding on in order for your ad to show up – seems relevant right? What about plurals, the order of words and close variants?

Over the years, Google has made changes to the way it defines Exact Match precisely for the reasons stated above. If you sell dress shirts, do you want to limit your visibility because someone searches for [red button up shirt] instead of your keyword [red shirt with buttons] or [red dress shirt]? It comes as no surprise that Google is constantly learning and trying to adjust for these types of things – after all, they want to provide each unique user with the best experience possible.

With the latest changes to the way matching works, Exact Match keywords can show when a user’s particular search query shares the same words as your keyword, but in a different order. This is called ‘same meaning, different order.’ For example, if your keyword is [red polo shirt] and a user searches for [polo shirt red], your ad is eligible to show.

They’ve also defined a change in ‘function words.’ Function words will allow your ad to show for a search like [grocery store Denver] even if your Exact Match keyword is [grocery store in Denver]…again, an extremely relevant search for you.

What Does This Mean to Me?

While they seem scary, these changes should inevitably help your advertising campaigns and save you time in the long run. You’ll no longer have to spend time building countless variations of keywords. This doesn’t mean that you should be diving into your programs removing all the variations that you’ve spent countless hours building. Leave those alone! They’ve collected precious historical data and in true Google fashion, they’ve stated that they ultimately prefer the exact keyword variations.

Watch Your Back

Yes! Less time building keyword strategies because Google has us covered on anything similar and relevant! Not so fast…

It’s important to think about terms who’s order and plurality changes their meaning. If you have a word in your strategy like [custom paint job] and someone searches for [customs job paint], you could be showing up in irrelevant results. So for now, keep a close eye on your strategies, monitor the search query reports and make sure you are planning a strategy that takes all of these changes into consideration for your particular brand.

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