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Adwords Phrase and Exact match types are changing

Google has announced that Adwords Phrase and Exact match keywords will be changing. Currently an Exact match requires that the search term typed in by Google exactly matches a keyword to trigger the corresponding ad (case insensitive). A phrase match is essentially the same except that that keyword only has to match a portion of the entered search term.

The new Phrase and Exact match types act more like the current broad match in that they also accept close variants, plurals, stemming (such as a search for “fish” would also include words like “fished” and “fishing”), accents and abbreviations.

This can be seen as both a negative and a positive. On one hard many search engine marketers (SEMs) are already adding many of these very similar terms and misspellings to their campaigns, this will reduce a lot of the leg work involved here and keep keyword numbers more manageable. On the other hand one of the big advantages of Exact and Phrase matches is that you do have much more precise control than a board match. Allowing you to precisely measure the results of each variant and not having to be exposed to weird edge cases this matching may create.

I get the impression from the blog post that while Google is allowing you to leave your Exact and Phrase match types to behave as they do now, they are pushing these new versions as the ones everyone should be using. What would be nice to is the ability to selectively use them on each keyword rather than being constrained to setting is at the campaign level. They currently do that with Modified Broad Match which constrains a board match to require each of the terms with a “+” symbol before them in the users search term. It should be noted that these terms with a “+” symbol also work like the new Phrase and Exact match types in allowing for close variants of the terms.

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