SEM / Media

Breaking: Exact Match Keywords No Longer Exact Match

From Wordstream Blog Feed
March 20, 2017 - 12:43pm
It’s not unusual to have things get a little…confusing on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe your speech falls apart, your words fall out of order, and some of what you say might get misinterpreted. Well, Google announced changes late Friday afternoon to how they define keyword match types, and PPC advertisers can now expect this kind of behavior every day from their exact match keywords. What’s Changing with Exact Match Keywords? Advertisers have relied on match types since the dawn of AdWords to control how their keywords match out to a user’s search. A staple of any successful AdWords account was the use of exact match keywords, which would only serve an ad when a user’s search exactly matched the keyword. Exact match keywords prevented you from serving an ad if a user’s search didn’t exactly match your keyword. Effectively, exact match keywords gave you complete semantic control over what search terms your ads showed for – the search term had to include those words, only those words, and in that exact order. Well, Google’s recent announcement changes all that. Now, exact match keywords can show when search queries share the same words of that keyword, but in different order. For instance, the exact match keyword [men’s dress shirt] is now eligible to show to the exact search term men’s dress shirt and to the not-exact search term dress shirt men’s.   Google’s recent change also allows for exact match keywords to disregard the functional words within a user’s search query, including appropriate prepositions (such as “in,” “to,” “for”), conjunctions (such as “and,” “but,” and “or”), and articles (such as “a,” “an,” and “the”). For instance, the exact match keyword [jobs in united states] could potentially serve an ad to someone searching for “jobs in the united states” even though the keyword didn’t include the word “the.”   Google estimates that advertisers will see 3\% more clicks from this type of “additional exact match” traffic. This isn’t the first time that Google’s changed the rules of exact match keywords. In 2014, Google began automatically including misspellings, plurals, and other close grammatical variants of exact and phrase match keywords. We saw that change increase the reach of those keywords by roughly 2\%. Who Benefits from the Change? So Google just found a way to


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