Why Content Marketing is the Answer as Google removes Exact Match
Panic ensues as Google announces close variant matching for all exact and phrase keywords. Read about how to be done with the worry for the long term
Published: 05 Sep 2014
5 minutes read
Starting later this month, Google will remove exact match keywords from its search system. What does this actually mean? Well in simple terms, it means your ad could be displayed in response to search queries that are similar to the ones you've paid for in your campaign. It used to be the case that you could opt out of these variants triggering your ad, but no more.
This change is a result of Google's confidence that its database has now sufficiently 'learnt' the intent of what the user is searching for and can therefore return focused results for broader terms. Of course, there is an implication here that has alarmed many users of paid search. In certain circumstances, this 'guessing' by Google is bound to fall short of what the user is actually looking for. This means you, the business owner, will potentially be charged when ads are clicked by customers who were actually looking for something completely different - costing you money and wasting their time.
For example, a search for 'Business premises' and 'Business premise' are clearly two different intents, but Google won't know that. You could argue that anyone searching for the former would naturally append a location to the search, but there are location/geographic services built into search now, so a user might be inclined to leave Google to its own devices in the hope of getting a better result via their GPS location. You can find more examples of close variants here.
The quick fix
So what's the solution? Savvy marketers have already suggested adding close variants to the list of negative keywords you don't want your advert to display when searched for. However, it could be an awful lot of work trying to catch them all - nothing short of a logistical nightmare if you have a massive list of keywords in AdWords.
Alternatively, you could fill in this petition and hope that the multi-billion dollar Google takes pity on everyone, does not implement this money-spinning system and keeps things the way they are. Or, you could just bite the bullet and accept that your time and money would be better invested in B2B content marketing.
There's always going to be a threat to your positioning in AdWords, if not a threat to your profit margins too. Consider the amount of extra money you'll need to throw at this problem as the PPC value of each keyword phrase sky-rockets because it's now including lots of useful and connected variants… Your long-term strategy should involve creating strong, unique, valuable and sharable content. A lot of it.
The long-term solution
Remember that while there are millions of people paying Google to display adverts for their sites, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people use Google to search for content on a daily basis. All these updates and changes to the algorithm are a result of trying to serve them better. The simple truths about organic ranking haven't really changed since I started doing SEO back in 2005, but we now have better platforms like HubSpot, which allow you to publish content and nurture your audience until they're ready to buy.
Rather than creating sites that simply compile information for people to float around in, the use of blogs, calls to action and landing pages means you can create really rich, topical and up-to-date content. At the same time, you can offer a guiding hand to visitors to empower themselves by moving down your conversion funnel, collating the knowledge and information they need to present a business case to their CFO for your services.
Google will continue to roll out updates to its algorithm, to sometimes devastating effect for some sites. You simply cannot avoid or ignore these updates, so the best tactic for long-term success is creating fresh, relevant content that builds value, reach and authority on your site. Producing content that visitors love and share is the best way to top search engine results because if your visitors love you, so will Google. Maybe it's time to make sure you've got the right platform and the right content marketing team to become a success online.