Not Exactly! Google Changed the Meaning of Exact Match Keywords

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Not Exactly! Google Changed the Meaning of Exact Match Keywords

This is to serve as a warning to you.  A few months back I posted about how you should be very wary of keyword matches when running your Adwords campaigns, and that the default “broad match” that everyone tends to use can cause a lot of wasted budget.  Well, now Google has made things even more complicated.

Initially, when you set up a Google Adwords campaign, if you used the “Exact Match” for your keyword, your ad would only show up if a searcher typed in that exact word or phrase.  For example, if you had the exact match for “ice cream”, someone had to search for ice cream to see your ad. They wouldn’t see it if they searched “best ice cream” or “chocolate ice cream”, just ice cream.  You could expand or add other exact matches if you wanted. This is a restricted, but very targeted way to advertise, especially when on a limited budget. Often, over years of broader matches, you will learn that a certain exact phrase or word converts very well for you, so you may build an adgroup just for that one exact phrase.

Well, as Google often says they are doing things for our benefit, a while back they expanded the definition of exact match to also mean plurals or common misspellings.  OK, we can maybe accept that, but even at that point, it isn’t really exact is it? Sure, it is semantics, but why not create a match type that accounts for this, rather than removing the true meaning of exact? Well, that would mean users would save money and be able to do better-targeted advertising.

Well, now they have taken it a step further, really destroying the concept entirely. Search Engine Land did a great write up on the latest rules, which allow for even more dilution of what the exact match does. Now exact match doesn’t really exist at all as it once did. You need to remove any of these variants such as word order and function discussed in the article with negative keywords. More work and even more detailed knowledge the average business owner doesn’t know. Also, you don’t really know what words you need to add as negatives until you have already spent money on that click and it shows up in your data.

Essentially, Google has found another way to bleed more dollars out of your wallet with Adwords if you are not extremely careful. Be very careful out there and keep an eye on the terms showing up in your exact matches in the coming months. Understand what negative keywords are and use them to try to keep your exact keywords as exact as you can. Or give us a call and let us help manage your Adwords for you, so you don’t have to worry about all of this.

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Not Exactly! Google Changed the Meaning of Exact Match Keywords
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Not Exactly! Google Changed the Meaning of Exact Match Keywords
Google Certified Partner and SEM Specialist
Initially, when you set up a Google Adwords campaign, if you used the "Exact Match" for your keyword, your ad would only show up if a searcher typed in that exact word or phrase. Now exact match doesn't really exist at all as it once did.
Jeremy Skillings
You Can Be Found

About the Author:

Jeremy Skillings
Jeremy Skillings has been helping small and mid sized businesses with search engine marketing since 2006 through his company, The SEO Helpdesk and You Can Be Found. As a google certified partner, regular attendee and former speaker at SMX Advanced, A+ BBB business, and all around good guy, Jeremy can help your business get found through search.

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