Google Announces New Update To Keywords

To many online operators, there is no distinguishing a difference between the internet and Google. The search engine, which now dominates around 60% of all web searches, is the leading digital platform for organisations to create and maintain a presence on. Inevitably, there are hundreds of thousands of factors that go into how an organisation generates a ranking position onto Google, with matching keywords being an integral one.

Being a search engine, Google lives to serve its users. By definition, their purpose is diverting online users to indexed pages that are suitable to their searched inquiry. Keywords are, therefore, an integral aspect behind driving organic traffic towards a site, as written content is a key indicator towards which website holds the most relevant material for a user. However, Google recently announced a recent and major change made to their keyword algorithm ranking, that is now affecting all advertisers online. This recent change has hit hard on the importance of exact match keywords, to which they will now match ‘close variants that share the same meaning of your keywords.’

What Does This Mean To Marketers?

Although changes to Google’s algorithm structure is not exactly ground-breaking news, this recent alteration to their keyword ranking will modify the way that advertisers across the world conduct themselves online. When users now search a term, there will be an increase in results that don’t necessarily have to match their specific keyword, but instead, results of the same implied intent will also be suggested. This growth of close variant search terms thus restricts the power that advertisers have on their specific keywords. These specific keywords typically act as the central focus in most online advertiser’s marketing campaigns, as their selected keywords are consistently and individually tracked under the terms of performance and impressions.

This dilution of exact matches has, however, always been a common practice by Google. Whether it be through the automatic inclusion of misspelt words or even matching phrases to searches that were ordered differently, their keyword algorithms remain to be an ever-changing process. Despite the vast modifications implanted in the past and the adaptations that certain organisations have had to make towards Google, this most recent change arguably holds the most uncertain future for all online advertisers. Although, this should not necessarily be conceived as a negative point.

To visualise the keyword change in practice, take a clothing company online for example. If a selected brand is keen to rank for the specific term of ‘men’s blue jeans’, this keyword may now prompt up on results such as, ‘cheap jeans’ or ‘ripped jeans’, as these keywords all hold a similar intent. Observing this point through a positive light, the change will, however, subsequently result in a broader range of impressions, as keywords can be reached from alternate search terms. Google itself has estimated a 3% increase to the reach of exact match terms, meaning that advertisers will not lose out their clicks and conversions.

An increase in impressions is certainly an expected benefit from the update, as there will be more search terms to potentially drive traffic towards your exact keyword. Given the release of data and figures provided by Google, this traffic has led to more conversions than advertisers expected, thus playing down initial fears surrounding the update. Match keywords are an integral factor in SEO and PPC work, as their performances are frequently analysed for click rates and impressions. As they are exact words and sometimes phrases, match keywords give organisations a clear image of what converts traffic and what terms are inevitably the most effective.

There’s No Reason To Panic!

The initial fear surrounding Google’s update, therefore, revolved around the fear of these match keywords losing their powerful ranking and subsequently, a loss in traffic for businesses. As mentioned, the newest change has favoured advertisers, as additional traffic is now being converted through similar search terms. What this process does, however, is spur new strategies for organisations to tackle and experiment with, particularly with new negative keywords.

Google’s latest update has certainly impacted negative keywords, which remain an important aspect of PPC campaigns. For those unfamiliar with this digital jargon, negative keywords consist of searches that you don’t wish to rank for. An organisation’s close managing of these search terms will naturally spark cost-efficient PPC strategies, as you are able to filter out individuals that are unlikely conversions.

With the latest update now in full flow, analysing specific match keywords has never been more important in the digital world, as it remains one of the most effective tactics in ensuring that your budgets are being spent in the right direction. This filtering process of diverting valueless traffic will result in more efficient budgets, by restricting money spent on irrelevant keywords.

Nobody in the digital marketing industry is a stranger to adapting to Google’s algorithm changes. Their very existence keeps the online world ticking along and are a reason why the technology company remains to be the most influential search engine on the web.

Maintaining a consistent presence across Google’s rankings is an invaluable aspect behind growing brand awareness and most specifically, worthy traffic onto your site. Staying updated with their algorithms should be a mandatory step for any business that wishes to grow online. The changing processes keep marketers on their toes, but working closely with Google’s guidelines is a priceless piece of advice to take onboard.