Here’s a specific case in point. In just the past few weeks, Google has announced the rollout of two “enhancements” to their Adwords PPC management platform that on the surface may seem innocuous and even helpful to advertisers, when in fact the thing most likely to be “enhanced” with both of these changes is Google’s annual profit figures.
For purposes of this post, I’ll go into just one of these changes here:
“Improved” Exact and Phrase Matching
The first change that Google announced is the rollout of “improved exact and phrase matching”, which expands your exact and phrase match keywords so that your ads also show for close variants of your keyword such as plurals, misspellings, stemmings, abbreviations, and acronyms. Google of course has heralded this change as a great benefit to advertisers who might otherwise have missed out on these clicks, and since the searches are so close to their original keyword anyway, why would they complain?
In my view, there are two problems with this change that should concern pay-per-click advertisers.
It demonstrates further evidence of the long, slow death of the long-tail. It used to be very effective to come up with all kinds of variations of your main keywords to find extremely efficient and profitable clicks for your PPC campaign. The expansion of exact and phrase match terms essentially negates a good deal of the value of doing so, and in the end increases the competition for these long-tail terms across the board by default. The result is that click costs for such search terms are likely to go up, and finding little-known treasure troves of great keywords is going to become more challenging.
The change ignores the fact that very slight variations in search phrases such as singular vs plural can signify very different search intent. Failing to manage these terms separately can have a real, negative impact on the results of your PPC campaign.
While Google has made the switch to these expanded match types the account default, they have luckily provided a way to opt out. If you intend to take active control of your accounts and not be a part of Google’s own “profit enhancement program”, we at PurePPC.com would recommend that you do so. It’s as easy as a simple checkbox in your campaign settings, and most often it’s going to be the right choice for your account, even if Google tells you otherwise:
Google Adwords is an amazing advertising platform, and the best thing available in PPC, but that doesn’t mean that you should ever let your guard down and leave everything to Adwords just because Google says you should. Remember that the interests of Google do not always align with your own as an advertiser. Keep a close eye on changes that they announce, think carefully about the ultimate impact that they might have on your PPC performance, and be ready to adjust accordingly.