Over the past few years, Google’s ability to understand language has grown leaps and bounds, leading to big changes for organic search and SEO. Now, those changes are starting to show up in Google AdWords, reshaping the way PPC marketing campaigns are conducted.
This spring, Google has announced that exact match keywords will play a minimized role in Google AdWords. The change widens the net of keywords that can capture PPC traffic and could fundamentally change the way PPC marketing professionals approach the AdWords platform.
We outline the changes below that Google has made and how they will impact future PPC marketing efforts.
Change Ignores Function Words & Word Order
Google already treats plurals, variant spellings, and misspelled keywords as “exact matches” for AdWords campaigns. But with this most recent update, there are two new changes Google is making to Exact Match campaigns.
The first change is that Google is now ignoring most function words for Exact Matches. Function words are linking words that include conjunctions (“and” or “but”), prepositions (“then” or “about”), pronouns (“her” or “they”), quantifiers (“few” or “all”), and modals (“could” and “should”). In most cases, Google now ignores these words entirely, removing them from queries when matching them to PPC campaigns. So, a search of “vacation in Barbados” will be considered an exact match for “vacation Barbados.”
The second change is that Google will also be ignoring word order on most queries. If, for instance, a user searches for “mens shoes red,” Google will that search as a match for “red mens shoes.”
It’s important to note that there will be exceptions. If Google’s algorithm detects that a function word is essential to the meaning of a query, or if it detects that word order matters, it will still make sure to match those keywords accurately.
What This Means for PPC Marketing
This change comes with a number of implications for PPC marketing teams. Google’s new “wide net” approach to exact match keywords means that PPC marketers now need to take extra steps if they want closer control over the keywords their ads are matched to.
By using negative keywords, you can eliminate variant keywords that you don’t want to trigger your ads. When crafting new PPC campaigns, marketers will need to take the added step of analyzing their chosen keywords to see if they could be matched with unwanted keywords. Any variants you don’t want should be added to the negatives for your campaign.
It’s also important for marketers to take periodic looks at their Search Query Reports. You’ll want to check over the keywords that are triggering your ads and look for keyword variants that you want excluded from your campaign going forward.
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