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Beware: Google Ads Expands Broad & Phrase Match To Include Keyword Close Variants

Yesterday, Google announced that in the coming weeks broad match modifier and phrase match keywords will also begin matching to words within the search query that share the same meaning as the keyword. The SEM/PPC community is not surprised but still very frustrated by this news.

It is Google Ads (formerly AdWords) expanding the keywords you want to match on for your ads to even more types of keyword phrases. That ultimately can lead to your ad showing more often but also it can lead to your ad showing for queries that you do not want your ads to show for. This has been the trend Google Ads has been going with since 2014 and has been a huge frustration point for the SEM industry.

Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land summed it up great in her Google extends same-meaning close variants to phrase match, broad match modifiers. As expected, Google is further loosening the reins on close variants, this time extending same-meaning close variants to phrase match and broad match modifier. With the changes, Google is also changing its keyword selection preferences to prevent keywords from competing against each other," she wrote.

Broad Match Modifier

Broad match modifier close variants have historically only included misspellings, singular or plural, stemmings, abbreviations, and accents. Moving forward, close variants will also include words with the same meaning as the keyword.

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Phrase Match

Phrase match keywords allow your ads to show when the query includes your keyword or close variants of the exact phrase of your keyword, with additional words before or after. Like the update to broad match modifier keywords, this now includes queries that contain words that share the same meaning as the keyword.

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Here is Ginny's tweet about this:

And here we go. Match types mean nothing. Don't even bother. (Kidding. Kinda.)

One important thing to note is Google is implementing a change to prevent keywords from competing against each other. Will have to see how well that works.

— Ginny Marvin (@GinnyMarvin) July 31, 2019

Here are some other reactions from the community:

Just another day... Another wasted dollar...

— David Iwanow (@davidiwanow) August 1, 2019

Mozcon folks remember that @SeerInteractive got matched to Georgia 360 when i exact match targeted GA 360, if you were in my preso, you know how to pull that data and check it to help keep Google from making you a 𤡠ð¤¡.

— Wil Reynolds (@wilreynolds) August 1, 2019

My 5 year old "infographic" still applies ð'ð¤...'''ï'

— Martin MacDonald (@searchmartin) July 31, 2019

Every phone call I take from a @GoogleAds rep leaves me feeling like an increase in wasteful spend is EXACTLY what they're after.

— Daniel Klotz (@inblueblazes) August 1, 2019

Understatement of the year:

'in aggregate, a 3-4% bump in clicks for Google adds up'

4% of $3 billion a month = an extra $120 million every month.

— 1st Self Made Trillionaire (@YiannisKrinelos) July 31, 2019

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Monday, 26 August 2019
23 August 2019
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