Google Adwords Says Goodbye to Exact Match

3 min read by Charlie Taylor 22 Aug 2014

Google Enforces ‘Close Variants’ on Adwords Service

Our industry has never been more dynamic, and with retailers, manufacturers, service providers and marketers alike treating Google ranking as somewhat of a golden chalice, the importance of understanding the manner in which we consume the information provided by Google has never been more vital. Google itself does little to help pro-active marketers with its frequent updates ‘moving the goalposts’ for those boasting a profound understanding of Google and its processes.

Important information has recently emerged from Google that in late-September, dramatic changes will be made to the Adwords service removing PPC advertisers abilities to only harvest exact matches in favour of a wider scope of ‘close variants’.

How do the changes affect you?

While the change to Google Adwords may at first, appear somewhat trivial, more detailed investigation of the implications that could be associated with the removal of exact match only. The ‘close variant’ system is a clever feature introduced by Google to account for a greater number of searches, potentially having a hugely positive effect and resulting in greater conversion rates or Adwords users.

For users looking to save time, while gathering a greater reach and more coverage, the greater importance placed upon ‘closed variants’ is an excellent tool and key to successfully stretching a campaign beyond an initial target. However, advertisers looking to create a more focused campaign, looking to know exactly where there ads will be displayed, will be disappointed by the changes.

On the surface, a greater range is an initially favourable result. Simple quantity continues to be the basis on which many amateur Google Adwords users create their advertising strategy. However, the argument remains that the removal of exact matches may damage the quality of search results. Whilst Google’s system aims to match queries to similar searches, linguistically, their is always the potential for wholly unrelated search matches.

Search Engine Land’s example was that someone looking for ‘cardio’ would not be looking for a heart transplant doctor, or ‘cardiologist’, but Google’s ‘close variants’ may not be able to recognise this important distinction. For many advertisers, this could well result in an astronomical misspend of funds, so to dismiss the changes as trivial would seem a foolish move on the part of those active with Google Adwords.

Importantly, there are good and bad points to be taken from this change, with the opportunity to influence online conversions, that may not have been granted suitable attention prior to the changes acting as somewhat of a silver lining.

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