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Near Match – The “Negative” Perspective

Published: April 22, 2012

Author: David Rodnitzky

Image credit: colourbox.com

This week, Google announced two new match types, near phrase and near exact match. As the AdWords blog notes: “Starting in mid-May, phrase and exact match keywords will match close variants, including misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents and abbreviations. Based on our research and testing, we believe these changes will be broadly beneficial for users and advertisers.”
I’m sure broadly speaking (pun intended), these changes will benefit users and advertisers, but it begs an additional question: why not create near negative match as well? In other words, why make advertisers scour tens of thousands of negative keywords and instead use the same near-match tool to expand keyword matching to reduce clicks? Perhaps this is on the roadmap, though a cynical person might conclude that this change – while benefitting users and advertisers – will not be coming to a theater near you because it happens to not benefit Google as well.
My other brief observation about near match is that this is consistent with my theory that the long tail is dying. This is yet another example where savvy advertisers are losing their advantage on obscure keywords, thus reducing the efficacy of focusing on these terms.  The nature of PPC is slowly moving from one of intent being defined by keywords to one of intent being defined more broadly, and often by the search engines, not the search engine marketer. This new dynamic means that hitting margins is done through creative optimization of fewer keywords, rather than creative discovery of long lists of new terms. But until near match is applied to negative keywords, creative discovery is a skill all SEMs need to keep sharp.
– David Rodnitzky, CEO

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