On March 17th, 2017, Google AdWords announced an update to its “close variants” feature which was designed to help people find the businesses, products and services they are looking for even if they misspelled or mistyped a keyword. This feature has been applied to all exact and phrase match keywords since August of 2014. In the next few months, Google will be taking close variants one step further to make it even easier for people to find exactly what they are looking for. Close variants will soon include additional re-wording and re-ordering for exact match keywords which according to Google research, AdWords advertisers may experience, on average, up to 3% more exact match clicks while maintaining comparable clickthrough and conversion rates.
Google will now ignore function words in cases where this will not change the meaning of the search term or keyword. Of course, when referring to function words, we mean articles (a/an, the), prepositions (in, on, at…) and conjunctions (and, but, or…). Therefore, exact match will ignore function words and match with similar search terms or keywords. Google provided the following examples to help us understand how this feature will work.
For exact match keywords, it will be possible to match with search terms or queries which have the same meaning even though the word order may be different. Again, this will only be applied if it doesn’t change the meaning of the keywords (e.g. [SFO to JFK] will not match with “JFK to SFO”). The table below provides examples of word re-ordering.
The result of these two updates is that advertisers will not need to create long lists of re-worded and re-ordered exact match keywords to cover all possible search query combinations. Please note that these updates do not apply to phrase match keywords. Furthermore, AdWords will still prefer to use keywords which are identical to search queries.
If you would like more information about this topic, you can read the official announcement posted on Google Inside Adwords, Google’s official blog for news, tips and information on AdWords.