Have you ever mistyped a brand or product name, and yet, Google provided you with a perfect result?
With each algorithm update, Google is getting smarter. Its algorithms are designed to “understand” what a user is searching for, irrespective of their spelling or grammar mistakes.
When investing in Google Ads, your goal is to put your brand in front of the right people, even if they mistype your brand name or use different keywords. This is where close variants step in.
Let’s learn how to use this keyword matching to improve your Google Ads campaigns and drive more traffic to your website.
What are Close Variants?
Before diving in on the details, you first need to understand different types of keywords.
First, there are broad-match keywords, that let you appear in placements if a part of your keyword matches the search query.
For example, if searcher googles “interior design,” they may end up seeing an ad for “landscaping design.”
Second, there are phrase-match keywords, where your ad will appear for the searches that include the same keywords.
For example, if you rank for the “salt lamp” keyword, you will also rank for “pink salt lamp.” If a word is inserted into the middle of the keyword and changes its meaning, you will not rank for it.
Finally, exact-math keywords are highly restrictive. You will appear only in those placements that include the exact same phrase and its close variants.
Close variants expand your reach. They let keywords match to search queries that are similar, but not identical to the searcher’s keyword phrase.
Close variants also give brands the opportunity to address the right customers, despite slight distinctions in the keywords used.
It is important to mention that all keyword match categories are eligible for close variants.
What do Close Variants Include?
According to Google, in all keyword match types, Google Ads close variants include the following:
- Common misspellings are easy to recognize. For example, if a user googles “New Yrk tour” instead of “New York tour,” Google will recognize the error and provide a user with accurate results.
- Grammar errors, such as “New York tours’”
- Singular and plural forms of keywords, such as “bicycle” and “bicycles”
- Abbreviations, such as “DIY” instead of “Do It Yourself”
- Stemming, as in “color” and “colour”
For exact-match phrases, close variants also include reordered words that have the same meaning, such as “kids clothes” and “clothes kids.”
Close variants are also triggered when function words, such as prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and similar words that don’t influence the search intent, are added or removed.
This can be seen in the example of “clothes for kids” and “kids clothes.”
The Importance of the 2019 Close Variants Update
One of Google’s major tasks is to provide its searchers with relevant search results. There are trillions of search queries people conduct every year.
While people are often googling the same thing, the way they perform searches varies.
Precisely because of that, Google sees 15% of daily searches for the first time.
To let brands reach more users without expanding their keyword list, Google first allowed exact-match keywords to match close variants.
In 2019, they updated their Google Ads close variants once again. They now include different keywords that have the same meaning as the original phrase.
To explain the idea behind the update, Google provides a simple example. Namely, ads targeting keywords like “lawn, “mowing,” and “service” first matched search queries that included at least some variations of those keywords like “lawn mowing and edging services.”
After the update, close variants can also match for search queries that don’t contain the same keywords, as log as searches have the same meaning.
For example, ads targeting “lawn mowing service” will also appear for queries like “grass cutting services near me.”
This is an immense change that may significantly improve your Google AdWords management practices. Close variants will boost your ad placements, driving qualified traffic to your website.
Remember that, no matter how smart it is, Google doesn’t understand your Google Ads campaigns the way you do.
This update helps advertisers a lot, giving them a chance to bridge any gaps they left during the keyword research process.
In the article mentioned above, Google said it expects advertisers using close variants to see 3-4% more clicks and conversions on their keywords.
Steps to Take when Targeting on Google Ads
Google emphasizes that it is immensely important for advertisers to keep their Google Ads campaigns flexible and consistent.
To use close variants strategically, Google recommends applying the following practices:
- Stay on top of your performance. When implementing close variants and adapting to their updates, keep in mind that your traffic may also change. Pay attention to your traffic and make changes needed, such as changing bids.
- Use negative keywords. Remember that you are paying for each click on your ad, no matter how relevant it is. Therefore, to boost qualified traffic to your website, you first need to exclude the keywords you don’t want your ads to appear for.
- Take advantage of Smart Bidding, Google’s machine learning technologies that automate your bidding processes and optimize your bids in real-time.
Over to You
Google Ads close variants are an important asset to any advertiser.
With their help, you will expand your ads’ reach and get them noticed by users that are misspelling your keywords, using stemming, etc.
Their latest update even allows your ads to appear for search queries using different keywords that have the same meaning.
Precisely because of that, you can drive more qualified traffic to your website and, above all, turn it into conversions.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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