Exact match: Definition

This article applies to positive keyword targeting only. Negative exact match keywords behave differently than exact match keywords, and don’t include close variants. Learn more about negative match keywords.

A keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone searches for your keyword or close variants of your keyword. Close variants may include:

  • Misspellings
  • Singular or plural forms
  • Stemmings (for example, floor and flooring)
  • Abbreviations
  • Accents
  • Reordered words with the same meaning (for example, [shoes mens] and [mens shoes])
  • Addition or removal of function words. Function words are prepositions (like in or to), conjunctions (like for or but), articles (like a or the) and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search. For example, [shoes for men] is a close variant of [men shoes] with the function word “for” removed.
  • Implied words (for example, if your exact match keyword is [daydream vr headset], your ads may show on searches for “daydream headset” since “vr” is implied)
  • Synonyms and paraphrases (for example, if your exact match keyword is [bathing suits], ads may also show on searches for “swimming suits”)
  • Same search intent (for example, if your exact match keyword is [images royalty free], ads may also show on searches for “free copyright images”)

Whether someone is searching for “running shoes” or “shoes for running”, what they want remains the same; they’re looking for running shoes. Close variants of exact match keywords help you connect with people who are looking for your business – despite slight variations in the way they search – and reduces the need to build out exhaustive keyword lists to reach these customers.

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