These aren’t the droids you were looking for?

Keywords matching has changed on a lot since the days when “broad”, “phrase” and “exact” meant what most people thought  they did. They have been subject to quite a bit of redefinition. Perhaps it is time they got new names? Especially now that turning off the “near match” characteristics are no longer at our discretion (as of Sept 2014).

Near match, oh that must mean close right? Not necessarily.. there is “machine close” and “human close”. If you were advertising for Glass you probably wouldn’t expect to see your Ads show for Class. Conceptually a very different meaning, but only 1 letter away if it is a misspelling.. so your Ad will likely show for both if it’s Ad Rank is sufficient and you hadn’t anticipated it by blocking -class as a negative.

Close keyword variations

We’ll show your ads for close variations of your phrase and exact match keywords to maximise your potential to show your ads on relevant searches. Close variations include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations and accents.

OK. What about words that are just synonyms? Well it isn’t specifically mentioned, but we have observed these in the past. Particularly across branded goods, e.g car brands. A search for a particular make/model may show the make/model of another brand because they are same type of product. ie both 4WD vehicles. Incidentally I have seen “Ford Sale” expand to the generic “For Sale”(expansion on misspelling)  and if that is a phrase match your “Ford Sale” ad may be showing for furniture for sale !

Word Stemming is an issue when the stemming leads to a different meaning. e.g Service and Servicing. While many businesses may offer a “service”, it does not including “servicing”

Plural can introduce issues in a similar way. A search for “custom service” is likely different intent from a search for “customs service”

Abbreviations/Acronyms + Mispellings = EVIL . This can be nasty, if you have a common Three Letter Acronym in your industry, it is likely matching for every other variation of those letters and anything that is only 1 letter off.  ABC, CBA, CAB. POST, POTS,SPOT

Expect to spend a lot more time monitoring search term matching reports and adding negatives. For new accounts this may mean 7+ days before there is enough data before the report will show these unexpected matches. Experience plays a big part in knowing what might be an issue, but we can never fully know how aggressive some matching will be until it happens.

The chart below serves as an introduction to the different match types, ordered from broad to narrow.

Match Type Special symbol Example keyword Ads may show on searches that Example searches:
Broad match none women’s hats include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations buy ladies hats
Broad match modifier +keyword +women’s +hats contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order hats for women
Phrase match keyword women’s hats are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase buy women’s hats
Exact Match [keyword] [women’s hats] are an exact term and close variations of that exact term women’s hats
Negative Match keyword women are searches without the term baseball hats

Happy negative hunting..

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