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Google AdWords Exact Match Close Variants

Over the coming months Google AdWords is expanding close variant matching to include additional rewording and reordering for exact match keywords. This is to ensure that the right keywords are used to reach the right customers and to eliminate the need to build exhaustive keyword lists to reach these customers.

Close variants help to connect with people who are looking for a business, despite slight variations in the way they search, and now the expansion of close variant matching will include additional rewording and reordering for exact match keywords.

Through this expansion, Google claims that early tests show advertisers seeing up to 3% more exact match clicks on average, while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates. This is done by ignoring ‘function’ words and including reordered variations of a keyword. Function words are prepositions (in, to), conjunctions (for, but), articles (a, the) and other words that often don’t impact the intent behind a query. For example, the “in” in “hotels in new york” can be safely ignored because it doesn’t affect the meaning. However, the “to” in “flights to new york” would not be ignored, because a “flight from new york” is not the same as a “flight to new york.”

Reordering won’t add any words to the keywords, but exact match will now use that same logic to match with queries that are reordered variations of keywords, such as “buy new cars and “new cars buy.”

With this expansion of exact match close variants, it’ll no longer be necessary to build and maintain lists of reworded and reordered exact match keywords to get the required coverage. If reworded or reordered keyword variations are already used, AdWords will still prefer to use those keywords identical to search queries. (Phrase match keywords aren’t included in this update).

This is a useful addition by Google, but the results from the expansion will need to be closely monitored to ensure that the average cost per click doesn’t rise and that claims about the additional clicks having comparable clickthrough / conversion rates is actually the case in practice.

You can read more about keyword matching options here, or please contact us for more details about this change.