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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


  1. Terry Whalen April 23rd, 2012


  2. Jeffrey Zwelling April 24th, 2012

    Rodnitzsky tells it like it is…again! Google continues to remove smart optimizations while not applying their power to help advertisers increase efficiencies.

  3. David Rodnitzky April 24th, 2012

    Thanks Jeff and Terry for the comments!

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.