Starting in September Google will Require Close Variant Matching

By , Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

131 SHARES

According to Google, 7% of all search queries contain at least one spelling mistake and, in accordance with the basic principles of probability, the longer a query becomes, the more likely an error becomes.

 

To date, PPC managers have had the option of utilizing the “close variants” matching option. This meant that account managers could choose whether their exact match or phrase match keywords would match with close misspellings or singular/pluralized search queries.

 

For example, with close variant matching turned on by an account manager who was advertising on the keyword [blue shirts], would still serve ads to a user who accidentally searched for blue shirs.

 

In this scenario, if close variant had been off, the ads would not have shown to our clumsy-fingered Google user.

 

However, Google announced on Thursday that beginning in late September, the option to utilize close variant matching will no longer be available, and all campaigns will be opted in. Google’s rationalization for this change, as written in the announcement itself is, “Even if what [the searcher] has typed isn’t perfect, people still want to connect with the businesses, products, and services they’re trying to find.”

 

Google also revealed that since 2012, advertisers who utilized the close variant matching saw an average of 7% more clicks on exact and phrase match keywords, with comparable increases in CTR and in conversion percentage.

 

So long story short, the requirement to opt into close variant matching is (as Google perceives) a positive consequence of widespread performance increases. However, pour one out for your fallen freedom of choice.

(featured image by Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

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  • medianme

    Can’t say I’m too happy about this. I have a B2B client in an industry where the same keywords are used by both consumers and businesses. However, we’ve discovered that businesses are much more likely to use the plural form of these keywords and consumers are much more likely to use the singular form. I see a lot of wasted money in my client’s future.

    In my particular case, this move by Google doesn’t help the advertiser or the end user. But it will certainly help Google.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Thanks for your feedback! Close variants can both help and hurt accounts. The tough part is that we don’t have control anymore.

    • stevenhope

      Negative keywords overwrite it though, so you could just add the singular terms as negatives.