Big Changes to AdWords Exact Match Keywords

AdWords Exact Match Keywords are no longer matched to exactly searched queries. Google recently announced big change to Exact Match keyword targeting works on AdWords. Exact Match Keywords no longer triggers for exactly search terms and its close variants (typos, stemmings, acronyms, abbreviations, accents, singular form, plural form etc.). For Exact match keywords ads may also trigger when user search query includes functional words and even when order of search query is not same as Exact Match Keyword.

Google has broaden the way close variants perform for Exact Match Keywords. In 2012, Google first introduced close variants for phrase match and exact match to trigger for  user searches uses typos, stemmings, acronyms, abbreviations, accents, singular form, plural form etc. Till 2014 Advertisers were able to opt-out of close variants under campaign settings.

Google will allow ads to trigger for Exact match keyword when user query includes functional word and also for reordering of terms but only when the meaning of user search query and exact match keyword is same.

Let’s take a look at new changes to AdWords Exact Match Keywords close variants with examples:

Adding & Removing Functional words:

If the user search query has functional words such as prepositions (“in,” “to,” “for”), conjunctions (“and,” “but,” and “or”), and articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”) and any other word which does not impact the meaning of user query – exact match keyword will trigger ad. Idea here is ad will trigger for search queries that contains functional keyword even when they are not part of keyword that triggered ad and also will trigger when keyword has function keyword but user query does not contain that word. Only function will be ignored but this will only happen when meaning of user query will be same as keyword.  Example:

Big Changes to AdWords Exact Match Keywords
Image Source: AdWords Google Blog

Reordering of words in keyword:

Because two keyword meaning is same when the order of words are slightly different, Exact keyword will trigger for reordering of words in keywords. Word reordering will only trigger ad when the meaning of the user search query and keyword will not change. Also word reordering will not trigger if there is any additional keyword in user query. Example Goa to Delhi will not match Delhi to Goa as intent of keyword and user search query is different. Example:

Big Changes to AdWords Exact Match Keywords
Image Source: AdWords Google Blog

These above changes are not going to effect immediately, will be rolled out to Spanish and English keywords coming months and all other languages in the year 2017. Few things can be done in your campaigns before this update comes in action. Look for exact match keywords which are well performing and potential for your campaign, think of close variant keywords which can trigger ad but  will not perform – add them in negative. Also if you have reordered keywords or functional word keywords in your campaign – they will compete for same auction and can harm your campaign cpc’s. Remove these keywords or make separate adgroups with relevant negative keywords.

Please not this update is only for AdWords Exact Match Keywords and will NOT impact functioning of phrase match keyword.

About Neha Gupta

I am Neha Gupta, SEM Expert – Paid Advertisement Consultant | Google AdWords Top Contributor| Google AdWords Trainer! I am Independent Paid Search Consultant and Google AdWords Trainer in Delhi.

I currently reside in Delhi, India, and love traveling.

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