UPDATE, 9/23/14: It looks like Google has made this change live to AdWords. So being aware of what the change means is more important now.

If you have an AdWords account, this is a must read article.

Later this month Google will be removing the option to have your AdWords campaigns opt out for showing for close variants of the keywords you are targeting (even for keywords you enter as Exact Match Phrases).

What Does This Mean For You?

In everyday terms, what it means is Google is trying to show ads for more versions of phrases. So where you may tell Google to target the exact phrase ‘keyword’, it may now decide that your ads should also show for:

  • Keywording
  • Keywordd
  • Keywords

Google will be looking at misspellings, plurals and abbreviations among other variants.

For some advertisers, this may be fine. They may be looking for a wide net to generate impressions and clicks for their ads.

But some advertisers like more control over what triggers their ads. They want to display for only the exact phrase that they tell Google to use. And after this change, this will no longer be the default. If you want to target only 1 specific version of a phrase, you will need to enter any close variants as Negative Keywords to your Campaign. So in the example above I would need to add among others ‘keywording’, ‘keywordd’ and ‘keywords’ as Negative Keywords. And as the Campaign runs, I will probably see more phrases that are generating impressions that I will need to add as Negative Keywords.

Google is offering case studies that show that by including close variants advertisers have seen good results. This is probably true for some, but each advertiser is unique and will want to do what’s best for them.

What Do You Need To Do Now?

The first thing you should do is check each and every one of your AdWords Campaigns and see if you have selected to include close variants or not.

Google AdWords Keyword Matching Options
This selection is currently found under the ‘Settings’ tab for each individual Campaign, towards the bottom. [Remember, Google is taking this option away, so if you wait too long this field will not be there.]
If you take a look at your settings, and have ‘Include plurals, misspellings, and other close variants’ checked off, nothing will change.

But if you have ‘Do not include close variants’ selected, you may want to develop a list of closely related phrases and misspellings that you will not want your ads to show up for, and enter them as Negative Keywords. If you decide to do nothing at this point in time, you may see that stats start to change for the Campaign. It may be for the better, or it may be for the worse. But you will want to monitor this, and for any new keywords that are triggering your ads and performing poorly you will certainly want to enter as Negative Keywords.

This article explains a specific change that Google is making to every Google account. If you are just getting started with AdWords, be sure to check out other paid search articles within our Learning Center. If you have specific questions, or want to learn more about how Mannix Marketing can help your business with paid search, contact us by calling (518) 685-4110.

About Brian McGrath

Over the past 20 years, Brian has experienced many aspects of marketing, including brand management, copywriting, campaign coordination, paid search marketing, social media marketing and internet marketing. Brian now uses this knowledge to help our clients maximize their presence on the internet. His expertise in all things marketing gives our clients – and the Mannix Marketing SEO team – a distinct advantage in all areas of search. His extraordinary analytic skills provide SEO, social media and paid search clients with real, measurable results. To maintain his cutting edge expertise, Brian stays current on the latest trends in social media and digital marketing by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and consulting with peers.