Close Match Variant – What does it Mean?

If you’re like me, when you search on Google, you’re regularly typing in something that is close to the query you were looking for, but not quite 100% the correct word.  Whether that’s as a result of a misspelling (I before E, except after C, unless you’re searching for something weird or foreign), or a typo, Google has said that 7% of all searches on Google contain a misspelling.  On top of that, the longer that search query is, the more likely it is to be misspelled.

With that, as of late September, Google is applying close variant matching to all Exact and Phrase match keywords.  Previously, you could opt in or out for this setting, but it will become a mandatory account setting in just under a month.  So what does this mean for us as Search Marketers?  First things first, we’ve always felt that misspellings are an essential part of any account, especially for Branded search terms.  We recommend that you build out an extensive list of misspellings.  There are many tools out there that can help you built out a large number of misspelled keywords (one I particularly like is  Building out these misspellings will ensure that you have coverage on all close match variants anyway, and will further ensure that you’re paying the least possible amount for that term, rather than having it match as a close variant.  We would also recommend adding in abbreviations of terms as well, to make sure that those are also covered within your account and not matching as a close variant.

Ultimately, if doing an extensive close variant build for your account is too time consuming, you will now be matched to those exact or phrase terms anyway, so fear not.  However, to ensure that we continue to have full coverage on our accounts, while paying the lowest possible CPC, we’d recommend taking the extra time to build-out said keyword variations.

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