SKAGs in the Time of Google Exact Match Close Variants

By Maria Breaux

On March 17th, Google announced its intention to expand close keyword variation matching for exact match keywords to include additional rewording and reordering. In other words, exact match keywords would be eligible to match to more search queries.

Google argues that this update will assist advertisers in finding the right keywords to bid on, saving them from the trouble of building out exhaustive keyword lists. However, for advertisers who utilize single keyword ad groups (SKAGs), this update will fundamentally change how they build and maintain AdWords search campaigns.

This post examines how the close variant update will affect SKAGs and offers some best practices for adapting to the new exact match.

The Old Way

Before Google’s announcement, close variants included misspellings, singular forms, plural forms, acronyms, stemming, abbreviations, and accents. For example, the keyword [donut] would match to the search query [donuts]—more or less an ‘exact’ match.

The update expands exact match close variants to include additional forms of rewordings, synonyms, and word reordering. Additionally, it ignores function words, such as “prepositions (in, to), conjunctions (for, but), articles (a, the) and other words that often don’t impact the intent behind a query.”

This last point has many advertisers worried as ‘function words’ can often change the core meaning of a keyword/search query. However, Google claims it’ll ignore function words only “when it won’t change the meaning of your keyword.”

For example, if someone is searching for [wax for surfboard], it could trigger the exact match keywords [surf wax].

The Difference with SKAGs

As the name implies, SKAGs are ad groups with just one keyword in them. This campaign structure gives advertisers a granular level of control over which ads and landing pages are served to specific keywords.

For example, for the keyword [pet hotels], an advertiser can create ad copy that includes the keyword a couple of times. Because Google will bold any instance of the exact keyword in the ad text, keyword-specific ads will appear more relevant to a searcher, and are likely to drive higher click-through rates and lower CPCs. An advertiser can also drive to a custom landing page for that keyword, which should result in higher conversion rates.

The New Way

With this new update, however, advertisers who utilize SKAGs will lose some level of control as more ‘close variant’ search queries will match to exact match keywords. This update should not degrade the benefits of a SKAGs campaign structure, but it will require advertisers to make a few adaptations.

Here are a few possible issues and adjustments to resolve them.

Note: Keep in mind that Google is staggering the rollout of the close variants update, so you won’t have to make changes immediately. At the time of this writing, Google has applied the update to 10% of all ad-eligible search traffic.

1. Remove Newly Duplicate Keywords/Ad Groups

Let’s assume you’re bidding on the keywords [speakers for living room] and [living room speakers] in your SKAG campaign. The close variants update eliminates the differences between these keywords because it’ll ignore “for” and the fact that they’re ordered differently. Consequently, these two Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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