Google’s recent removal of exact match keyword targeting from AdWords has resulted in serious uncertainty and makes keyword optimization and research that much more difficult. This article from the search engine optimization experts at Fasturtle will discuss the implications of the change and some tips for going forward.

AdWords – A tool of choice for SEOs in Scottsdale and beyond, AdWords provided optionality around how to choose keywords. For example: a business owner selling tennis shoes online could modify the terms and phrases she wished to bid on, such as:

  • exact match only, no modifiers (“tennis shoes” not “women’s tennis shoes”)
  • partial phrase matches (such as “cheap tennis shoes”)
  • broad match (lets Google extrapolate out and adds things in)


Policy Changes – As of this month, all campaigns and the keywords employed within them must use close variance. By taking away the exact match, Google is also taking away much of the control SEOs have in keyword bidding and making it more difficult to determine keyword performance.

Why Get Rid of Exact Match? – There are two ways of looking at it:

  1. It makes Google more money, as more people bid on terms and phrases they don’t necessarily need or know if they need.
  2. Google is concerned about how exact match— which isn’t even used by the majority of campaigns integrated with WordStream— will affect small businesses, who may be confused by it

Alternatives – There is still hope for SEOs in Scottsdale, but you cannot rely on AdWords anymore. Some options:

  1. Google Suggest – These are more informational searches (AdWords has more commercial intent), good for content marketers, big bloggers, and search engine optimization teams trying to attract awareness. Can be geo modified or non-geo modified, and tend to be in popularity order.
  2. Google Analytics/AdWords – Follow up directly inside either one to see which exact terms sent traffic and how it performed.
  3. Bing/Yahoo! Referrals – These, and other search engines, still report referral data. Use it to help infer relative quantities and relative performance on a per keyword basis, particularly for important keywords.
  4. Broaden Keyword Targeting – Lean less toward exact phrases, and more toward searchers’ intent and potential interests.

To learn more about how the loss of exact match will impact SEO firms in Scottsdale and the surrounding area, contact the search engine optimization professionals at Fasturtle. Please call (888) 468-8785 or Contact Us Online to speak with a keyword optimization expert.