Last fall, Google added same-meaning words to exact match close variants. This allowed Google to better match a query to an exact match query if it had the same intent as the keyword. Google is now going to be rolling this out to phrase and broad match modifier keywords.
 

Google Extends Same-meaning Close Variants

 
Ultimately this will allow advertisers to reach more consumers without an extensive keyword list. Since machine learning has progressed over the last several years and nearly 15% of google daily searches are new, Google has decided to roll out this update so that advertisers don’t miss out on traffic. If match types were to remain as they were, there are many high intent searches that advertisers could be missing out on.
 

What Changed?

 
Broad match modifier keywords can match to queries in any word order. Historically close variants have included misspellings, singular or plural, stemmings, abbreviations and accents. Moving forward, close variants will include words with the same meaning as the keyword.

Phrase match will also be able to trigger for same-meaning queries, along with close variants. The only difference with phrase is that word order will still be respected. With this change, Google is anticipating a 3-4% lift in traffic which may vary by account.
 

Same-meaning Close Variants To Phrase And Broad Match Modifiers Examples:

 
Google Extends Same-meaning Close Variants

This update is anticipated to have a positive impact on accounts. At first glance, this seems like a win – machine learning  + multiple matching possibilities = more traffic. Machine learning will play a larger role in regards to determining which queries will trigger our ads.

“However, we may need to shift our approach on how we structure specific campaign categories depending on the impact. Accounts could very well see a nice lift in traffic as they’re able to show for more intent-driven queries but be aware as to how it’s being matched. With any change that can affect an advertiser’s traffic, it’s important to monitor performance and notify Google if you see anything off.” – Kat Hanlon, Senior Specialist, Paid Search at Tinuiti

 

Next Steps

 
As this starts to roll out over the next few weeks, be sure to monitor search query reports more frequently, especially if you are running any type of smart bidding.  If an advertiser’s name is a close variant of someone or something else, you’ll want to keep a closer eye on this to ensure your brand isn’t being matched to anything completely irrelevant.

Here are a few items to keep in mind as this change takes place:

  • It’s possible that if your account is tightly structured by match type, you may need to re-evaluate the setup depending on the impact from this update.
  • Refine keyword sets especially if your account is seeing a lift in traffic and CPCs are lower, you may want to consider pausing any keywords with higher CPCs.
  • Addition of exact match negatives if your account is matching to a handful of irrelevant queries
  • Shared negative lists – these may need to be revamped/expanded depending on the impact for your account
  • Smart bidding behavior for any high volume but low CTR campaigns – keep a close eye on these to make sure you’re not matching for irrelevant queries

 

 

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