What’s Up with Keyword Match Types These Days?

Jill Goldstein - April 5, 2022

It’s not just you, the search queries you’re seeing in your search term report does not align with how you would presume the search engines would be matching searches to your keywords given your selected match types. Within the past year, there has been a shift in how search engines are matching search queries (what people are typing into the search bar) to keywords. There are now more search queries then ever matching to keywords. This is because Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence is improving. Google now understands the meaning and intent behind searches, which allows the engine to understand similar searches that don’t necessarily include the same words.

In Google’s example below, the keyword [Lawn mowing service] can match to users searching “grass mowing service”. No longer do the exact words need to be within the user’s search to match to an exact match keyword. If the meaning is the same, your ad will be eligible to show. In the phrase match example of “lawn mowing service,” a matching search could be “hire company to mow lawn”. This search includes the meaning of the keyword.

As someone who has been practicing search engine marketing for over 10 years, this is a significant change. However, what does this mean for your campaigns? How should you adjust? Well let me tell you 3 simple, straightforward actions to take.

  1. Simplify your campaigns, ad groups and keyword selection. Now that Google is matching your keywords with more queries, there’s no need to bid on as many keyword variations. It’s very likely you have a lot of overlap among different campaigns and ad groups. Review your search terms reports and re-structure.
  2. Transition to responsive ads. As a reminder, you will no longer be able to create or edit Expanded Text Ads as of June 30th. Responsive Search ads expand reach and typically improves performance due to the automation of testing different combinations of headlines and descriptions. Google learns which combinations perform best and optimizes towards it.
  3. Embrace smart bidding. The third piece of the trifecta. We now know that Google is using machine learning in keyword matching and within our now standard ad units. Sensing a pattern? Smart bidding uses machine learning to optimize towards conversions using “auction-time bidding.” Simply, the machine can make smarter, and more informed decisions that a human can.


  1. Refine your targeting by using more first party & compliant audiences. With less control over the exact search terms your ad is showing on, audience inclusion becomes more important than ever. Be sure to include all relevant audiences for observation and target audiences when it makes sense.

While Google’s machine learning has dramatically improved over time, it’s still not perfect. What Google deems believe to be a good match for a keyword may not be your ideal search query. Navigate these changes by working with an expert. Contact the experts at MoreVisibility for help.

© 2024 MoreVisibility. All rights reserved.