Google’s exact match close variants expand again: Now include same meaning variations

Google’s exact match keyword targeting means the keyword needed to coordinate precisely whatever query the searcher used. At that point, close variations came into the mix, and that definition has relentlessly transformed over the past few years. To start with, the inclusion of incorrect spellings, plurals and other similar variants came in 2014, and after that, in 2017, function words and different word order took hold.

google exact match

Now phase three is here.

On Thursday, Google reported another change to what are viewed as close variants of an exact match keyword to include varieties that offer same meaning as the keyword, including paraphrases and suggested words. The exact words are not any more the sole trigger for your ads to appear on exact match keywords.

Google says the key is that the intent and meaning of the query match the keyword.

Google offers the example of the exact match keyword [yosemite camping]. With this change, [yosemite camping] will now match to queries such as “yosemite campground” and “campsites in yosemite.”

exact keyword example

If Google’s framework understands the purpose of the query is different than the keyword, it won’t match it. In this case, [yosemite camping] would not match to queries such as “yosemite hotel” or “motels in yosemite,” says Google, because the intent of a searcher looking for hotels and similar lodging is different from that of someone looking for places to camp.

As indicated by Google, the early test demonstrated that advertisers that were using fundamentally exact match keywords saw, on average, 3 percent more conversion and clicks on those keywords. A large portion of that lift came from queries they weren’t currently reaching.

Google says it will keep on preferring the actual exact match — the identical keywords — used in the query over any paraphrases or same meaning keywords currently in campaigns


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