Google Ads Updates Phrase Match For Better PPC Performance
SEOs and site owners have to use keywords and match types in their SEO content writing process as these two things are crucial elements of PPC. However, the industry undergoes constant change, and even expert SEO content publishers have to continuously adapt their strategies to get the best results.
One of the latest developments today is Google Ads’ updated phrase match. Veteran PPC experts might think they already know the ins and outs of phrase match, but in truth, the current version is actually very different from the one they used a long time ago. The current iteration of phrase match was introduced in February after it absorbed some functionality from broad match modified (BMM) keywords.
Keyword Match Types
Match types refer to how close a searcher’s query needs to be to an advertising keyword before becoming eligible to trigger advertisements.
In the past, the Google Ads match type behaviour was straightforward, with three common scenarios: the exact match, the phrase match, and the broad match.
Firstly, there is the exact match, which means the advertisement will only show if the keyword is precisely the same as the searcher’s question.
Next, a phrase match shows an advertisement if there are extra words before or after the keyword.
Lastly, the broad match refers to displaying an ad as long as all the keywords are part of the user’s query, regardless of the word order.
Out of the three scenarios, the exact match is the most restrictive match type, while the broad match is the loosest. Meanwhile, the phrase match is somewhere between the two.
Once ad platforms offer match types, the advertisers can then specify if they want to show their ads for searches based on similarity to their keywords.
SEO content writers and advertisers do not need to think of every possible question that users could type in the search bar when looking for products and services. Instead, they can use looser match types, such as broad and phrase match types, so search queries will trigger advertisements.
However, this was all in the past, and things have tremendously changed since then. These straightforward and easy-to-understand match types became more complex after Google introduced close variants.
It does not matter which match type an SEO uses; close variants will change the keywords and give the ad platform a lot of freedom when matching keywords to search queries.
Close variants are essentially a defined set of ways where Google can change an SEO’s keywords. One keyword from an ad group could have hundreds of other similar keywords behind the scenes. These other keywords – which come from Google’s 11 close variant manipulations – are not visible, but they are already there to serve the advertisement.
What Is The New Phrase Match?
Google’s match types have become more complex than before. In today’s industry, the search results display advertisements that include the meaning of the keyword, which can be implied, and search queries can be a more specific form of that meaning.
However, the most significant difference between the new phrase match and the old one is that it is no longer about the words in the keyword. With the new phrase match, meaning has replaced keywords. The keyword’s meaning must be a part of the searcher’s question, and there can be extra words in the query.
Moreover, references to word order are now gone. These were a part of the phrase’s original definition before, but since Google’s machine learning has now improved, it can solely distinguish whether the word order matters or not. Therefore, it is not always required to maintain a strict word order.
This new change resembles the original broad match, but even the latter was updated. Now, the broad match can display ads for related searches, even though their meaning is different. Here are the three match types and their updated meanings in 2021:
- Exact match – Displays an advertisement when the search question has the same meaning as the keyword
- Phrase match – Displays an advertisement when the question includes the same meaning as the keyword
- Broad match – Displays an advertisement when the question relates to the keyword
Just like before, the phrase match still sits somewhere between the other two.
What Does Google Consider To Be Same Meaning?
Phrase match relies on machine learning (ML) to distinguish things like whether the meaning of the word order in the search result changes or not.
For instance, it helps Google understand if searches for [buy milk chocolate] or [buy chocolate milk] mean the same thing. If an SEO chooses the phrase match, it means they accept that Google’s ML will decide whether these two searches are the same or not. However, Google’s system is not always correct, so SEOs should monitor it.
The good news is that Google makes it easy for SEOs to understand these query match types as they break everything down in their reports. This allows SEOs to see if a query falls under the old phrase match or the new one with close variants.
One can go to the reporting section, create a table report, and include rows for “search term”, “search keyword”, and “search term match type”. SEOs will see that there are search terms named “Phrase” while others are called “Phrase (close variant).” This means they can add a filter if they want only close variants and choose whether negative keywords are necessary. SEOs can also use this feature for exact match types.
SEOs can further play with their settings to analyse the semantic difference between their keywords and their users’ search term. They can also automate negative keywords if Google strays too far from its original meaning.
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