Starting throughout October, Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, will begin implementing changes that will expand the way exact match keywords operate. As an example, if your campaign only used exact match keywords, it used to be that your ad would only show if the search query the user inputted was identical to the keyword or phrase.
Now, however, Google has made it so your ads that are associated with the respective exact match keywords will also show if the search query is a close variant. Close variant means the intent of the search query is the same to the keyword, but perhaps worded or phrased differently.
For example, if you have an exact match keyword of [personal injury lawyers], your ad may now still show up if users search for “lawyers for personal injury” or “personal injury free consultation lawyers”.
There are a couple reasons why Google may have decided to make this change. They could think their machine-learning algorithms are proficient enough to accurately show multiple variation search queries that embodies the same intent of the exact match keyword. This will give advertisers an opportunity to showcase their ads to a wider range of potential clients without the tedious work of prospecting and possibly adding scores of keywords, phrases and match types. Advertisers in turn would also help make the algorithm more concise by adding search queries that do not align with the exact match keyword into the negative keyword tab, barring that query from enabling their ads to show again. These search queries can be found in the search term tab.
Google has stated that this change will not affect broad match, broad match modifier and phrase match keywords.
Dexter Tam is an Analyst at Custom Legal Marketing and is Google Partner Certified in Adwords.