Close variants helps you connect with people who are looking for your business, despite slight variations in the way they search. To make it even easier for you to reach more of your customers, over the coming months we’re expanding close variant matching to include additional rewording and reordering for exact match keywords.2 Early tests show advertisers may see up to 3% more exact match clicks on average while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates.3
Rewording and ignoring function words
Function words are prepositions (in, to), conjunctions (for, but), articles (a, the) and other words that often don’t impact the intent behind a query. With this change, exact match will ignore these function words to match with similar queries.
Function words are the only words that will be ignored. This should only happen when it won’t change the meaning of your keyword. For example, the “in” in “hotels in new york” can be safely ignored because it doesn’t affect the meaning. However, the “to” in “flights to new york” would not be ignored, because a “flight from new york” is not the same as a “flight to new york.”
Same meaning, different order
Two keywords can share the same meaning, even if the word order is slightly different. For example, “buy new cars” and “new cars buy.” Now, exact match will use that same logic to match with queries that are reordered variations of your keyword.
It’s important to note that word reordering won’t add any words to your keywords. Your keywords also won’t be reordered to match with a query when it changes the original meaning of those keywords. For example, the keyword [SFO to JFK] shouldn’t match to the query “JFK to SFO” because the destination is different.
Putting it all together
With this expansion of close variants, you’ll no longer have to build and maintain lists of reworded and reordered exact match keywords to get the coverage you want. If you already use reworded or reordered keyword variations, AdWords will still prefer to use those keywords identical to search queries. Phrase match keywords aren’t included in this update.
Going forward, use RLSA, Smart Bidding, the search terms report and negative keywords to help shape your traffic and reduce costs. To learn more about this and other strategies that can help you make the most of this change, check out our keyword best practices.
1. Google internal data, global
2. This change will affect English and Spanish keywords only, with other languages to follow throughout 2017
3. Google internal data, aggregate traffic