Match the intent of a search with close variants

September 6, 2018

The ways people search are constantly changing: roughly 15% of the searches we see every day are new.1 With so many new queries, there’s a good chance people are searching for your products or services with terms you haven’t discovered.

Take deodorant, for example. Last year, we saw people search for deodorant in more than 150,000 unique ways.2 That’s a lot of different ways to say the same thing. But you shouldn’t have to manage an exhaustive list of keywords to reach these hygiene-conscious consumers.

That’s why exact match close variants will begin including close variations that share the same meaning as your keyword.3 Early tests show that advertisers using mostly exact match keywords see 3% more exact match clicks and conversions on average, with most coming from queries they aren't reaching today.4

Extra Space Storage Brands like Extra Space Storage are already discovering new opportunities to reach more customers. Steph Christensen, Senior Analyst for Paid Acquisition shared, “We were very satisfied with the quality of matches during the pilot. We’re always looking for ways to increase volume, and this new matching behavior should help us gain additional reach via highly relevant new matches."

Reach more people with the same keywords

Powered by Google’s machine learning, exact match will now match with the intent of a search, instead of just the specific words. This means your exact match keywords can show ads on searches that include implied words, paraphrases, and other terms with the same meaning.

Let’s say you’re marketing for a travel business. If you’re using the exact match keyword [yosemite camping], your ads may show on other terms like “yosemite campground,” “campsites in yosemite,” or “yosemite national park ca camping.”

In each case, the intent of the search still matches the original keyword: to go camping in Yosemite National Park. However, you wouldn't show on terms like “yosemite hotel” or “best yosemite camping,” because while both refer to staying at the park, the intent is different. Instead, these terms would match to the broad match version of this keyword.

Exact match queries

Examples of new queries that may match with “yosemite camping.”

Make keyword management simpler

Best practice Best Practice: Use Smart Bidding to help shape your traffic. To learn more about this and other strategies that can help you make the most of this change, check out our keyword best practices.

If you already use paraphrases and other similar terms in your account, Google Ads will still prefer to use keywords identical to the search query. Phrase, broad, and broad match modifier keywords aren’t included in this update.

Posted by Miguel Villalobos, Product Manager, Search Keywords


1. Google internal data, April 2017
2. Google Data Jan 2016 - June 2017, US
3. This change will roll out for English keywords through October, with more languages to follow over the next few months
4. Google internal data, August 2018

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