Beginning in September, Google is making changes to close variant keyword matching. This is not a massive change for the more novice users (close variant was the default) but for many this elimination of control will create a series of obstacles in controlling your Search Queries.
Close Variant – What does this mean?
The most important thing is to understand what close variants are. Close variations include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations, and accents. This setting will continue to not include synonyms. Currently, this is the default for campaigns but users have the ability to turn it off at the campaign level.
The campaigns that have chosen to opt out in the past will be migrated and be reaching a larger audience. A concrete example of this is a user who has the exact match keyword “running clothes”. In the past you would be guaranteed to show up for that only. With the change you will show up on “running clothes”, “running clothing”, “running cl othes”, and “running cloths”. Many of the more savvy advertisers opt out of this because of the lack of control.
Mobile Responsible for Misspellings and Abbreviations
7% of Google searches contain a misspelling. Google pitches it as a great benefit which will allow advertisers to increase the coverage of their terms with easier keyword management. Additionally, as smartphone adoption continues to rise, misspellings and abbreviations are more common than ever, making it difficult to cover all relevant queries. The close-variant matching will make it easier to cover these terms. At the same time also earning more money for Google.
So what can advertisers do about it? In short, negative keywords. You still have the option to add negatice keywords to your campaigns. These can be set on exact or phrase match. It is extra work but using the example from above, if you don’t want to show up on “running clothing” you can put that in as a negative keyword. Most importantly, watch your campaigns closely when the change is implimented – KPI changes might occur.