By Kat Cancio | August 19, 2014

Starting in late September, Google will require all AdWords campaigns to use close variant keyword matching. Close variant keyword matching allows Google to automatically trigger your ads for misspellings, plurals, and other close variants of your keywords. For example, if someone searches for “online shopping,” close variant matching will match the query to the phrase match keyword, “online shop.”

While close variant keyword matching has always been optional, Google forcing all campaigns to employ the setting has caused quite a stir in the AdWords community, and understandably so. A few have commented that the new change is part of Google’s continuing efforts to “erode options that power users of AdWords value.” Others have also expressed concern for the potential influx of unwanted search impressions.

Despite the brewing criticisms, the biggest implication from the non-optional feature is that exact and phrase match keywords will no longer be as restrictive as they once were. For years, AdWords managers have used exact and phrase match keywords to better target which queries they wanted their ads to appear for. Since the move to close variant keyword matching will apply to phrase and exact match keywords, there is justifiable concern for the potential influx of unwanted search impressions.

Click here to learn about close variant matching.