In September Google will be making some changes to the way AdWords works. So what should you do about it?
It’s no secret that Google is big; really big. In 2013, the search engine’s total revenues for the year amounted to around $55 billion dollars.What you might not know is that a generous proportion of this money was made from pay per click ads, otherwise known as AdWords. In fact, more than a million advertisers use AdWords every day.
That’s why Google’s latest announcement that they’re making some changes to this service has put a cat among the pigeons. It has been reported that, as from the end of September, Google will be changing exact match and phrase match AdWords to close variant matching, instead.
AdWords in a Nutshell
When you search for a topic using Google, you are giving Google a combination of ‘keywords’ to find results. When your search is completed you will see ads at the top of your results page that are highlighted in yellow and usually accompanied by the word ‘Ad’, as shown below.
Marketers use AdWords by selecting a series of keywords that match their business. For example, a dress maker might choose ‘dresses’. They then bid against competitors to make sure their ad comes up at the top of the ad list when Internet users search for that word. Bids can be as low as $.05 and as high as almost $60 per click! Once the marketers have got their keywords, they will pay Google every time their ad gets clicked on.
Below are the most expensive AdWords on the scene and the prices that companies are forking over every time someone clicks their link.
1. Insurance – $54.91
2. Loans – $44.28
3. Mortgage – $47.12
4. Attorney – $47.07
5. Credit – $36.06
6. Lawyer – $42.51
7. Donate – $42.02
8. Degree – $40.61
9. Hosting – $31.91
10. Claim – $45.51
It’s also helpful to know what exact match AdWords are just one of the match types available from Google. The other types are shown in the table below…
So what are the exact match changes all about?
Basically, from the end of September, companies that spend a set amount to be first in line when someone types in a certain word will now be competing with other variations of the same keyword.
This becomes a problem when an advertiser’s keywords are similar to keywords in a totally different industry. Let’s take an opticians and a window supplier as an example. Internet users will search for ‘glasses’ if they want a new pair of spectacles, but they might be shown adverts for glass doors, because the words are so similar. If two similar terms like this get conflated in the new system, CTR and conversions could be impacted.
The biggest issue here could affect companies with very highly controlled landing pages who use small ad groups and tight exact match keywords to send web users through to individual landing pages. So, if the visitor searched for the singular word “widget” they’d get a landing page about a singular widget. If they searched for the plural “widgets”, meanwhile, they’d get a more generic landing page about plural widgets. The singular and plural distinction is important in some markets – singular searches can often show purchase intent but plural searches can indicate a customer is still researching their purchase.
Exact match ads have taken a dive recently, most businesses have moved on to key phrases instead – such as ‘Which companies clean glass?’. This means that this announcement will really only affect an estimated 3 percent of marketers. However, this announcement is still seen as a game changer to many companies. This could be the beginning of more AdWord changes to come. It has been mentioned that Amazon may be a direct competitor in the coming years, and may have sparked the recent changes. Amazon recently announced that they are planning on delivering their own ads based on keywords, very similar to the service that Google has provided for years.
What’s the solution?
You’ll need to put a bit more thought into your keyword selection from September onwards. Get a dictionary and thesaurus out and look at alternative possible meanings and associated words. For example, business premise means something totally different to business premises, but the two words are extremely similar.
Once you’ve identified some related words that you don’t want your ads to show up for, add those words to the Negative Keywords section of your AdWords account – this will tell Google that you do not want your ads to appear when Internet users search for these words.
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