Google expands close variant keywords to connect more users with the things they’re searching for
Close keyword variations (known officially as ‘Close Variants’), enable ads to be shown to users despite slight misspellings, as well as the likes of singular and plural forms, stemmings, acronyms, accents, and abbreviations being used in search queries.
On Friday, Google announced via the Inside AdWords blog that they would be “expanding close variant matching to include additional rewording and reordering for exact match keywords” over the coming months. This is due to early tests indicating that advertisers may see up to 3% more exact match clicks.
One main change to Close Variants is that function words will be ignored or reworded when this won’t impact the intent behind a search. Put simply, ‘exact match’ will ignore these function words to enable your ad to match with similar search queries.
Function words, as defined by Google, include prepositions (‘in’ and ‘to’), conjunctions (‘for’ and ‘but’), and articles (‘a’ and ‘the’).
However, rewording or ignoring the function word can change the meaning of certain search queries, and it won’t be ignored when this is the case. For example, Google explains that the “to” in “flights to New York” would not be ignored as “flights from New York” isn’t the same thing.
Image source: Inside AdWords
Another change you can expect to see over the coming months is words being reordered for particular search queries. Again, this will only be done if it doesn’t change the original meaning of the keyword, and no extra words will be added to the query.
The TJM take: As well as making it easier for people to find what they’re searching for, another clear justification behind these changes is revenue. Basically, by decreasing the number of keywords people use, there’s more chances for your ad to appear for multiple queries, and therefore more competition between bidders. The result? More revenue being generated.
Our advice would be to keep keywords as accurate and exact as possible, as well as remembering the importance of negative keywords. This will affect all campaigns (and not just new ones), so get in touch with our team if you need any guidance.
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