We’ve talked about how the recent changes to Exact Match have made many businesses doubtful that don’t necessarily believe they will thrive if word order or function words are disregarded when Google decides whether they will trigger Exact Match. Some marketers believe they just don’t have the same range of keywords that other businesses have related to their goods and services, putting them at a disadvantage when, in fact, they may actually have a wider range of goods and services that would appeal to web browsers than their competitors. And it seems our prediction last week that Exact Match may not benefit some businesses has not been entirely disproved, as evidenced by Merkle’s recent data report indicating there has been no real significant impact on either traffic share or conversion rate. However, we really have to wonder if the downward trend has yet to come, since the changes are relatively new, and may have a more drastic impact on those businesses who aren’t as invested in identifying the types of keywords that will drive their paid-search.
As mentioned earlier, it seems our prior prediction regarding Exact Match has not been entirely disproved , according to recent results from Merkle’s Q2 data presented by Andy Taylor at “Mad Scientists of Paid Search” last week. As compared to the results in early 2016, it seems the share of non-brand traffic attributed to ‘Exact Match close variants’, as opposed to just ‘Exact Match’ has not changed since the implementation of Google’s latest change to the match type. However, for the brand-name traffic share, close variants played a significantly lesser role in traffic share, which is not surprising when you consider brand names have the funds to popularize themselves in a way that would increase Exact Match searches. And not surprisingly, there hasn’t been a significant impact on conversion rates in non-brand traffic, however, there was a reported 3-5% decrease in conversion rates when measuring the overall impact of all close variants on Exact Match conversions. This is really not surprising when you consider the much greater range of keywords relevant to paid-search ads on average due to keyword modifiers than ever before.
So the results are a bit mixed, but generally speaking there hasn’t been too many drastic changes since Google’s recent decision to disregard word order and function words in Exact Match. However, we cannot be sure this is a definite trend in things because the changes were only implemented in the last two months and do not necessarily reflect the total impact. What do we know? That the change has had a negative impact on conversions when compared to ALL co-variants which is not surprising when you consider the range of keywords that have now become relevant with all these keywords allowances. Our thoughts? In the wider scope of things, we have at least seen a change, but it may be just a matter of time before the impact affects the role of Exact Match in conversions for many businesses. But for whatever the situation may be, it’s clear there was an effect, and businesses should be weary of how they will modify their keyword-campaigns, especially if they’ve succeeded predominantly with the match type.