Google Ads Exact Match Update and what it means for content creators

Over time, Google keywords and phrases were required to be identical and full match the query or question that a user was searching for in order to be considered and indexed for that search term. Steadily, over the past few years, Google has been steadily updating and morphing its previously strict definition of a keyword match. In 2014, they updated it to include plurals, misplessings and similar variants of the keyword or phrase. In 2017, the search engine giant accepted a difference in word order and function words.

In 2019, Google launched their latest change that took effect on July 1st. The search engine now accepts and considers close variants of the exact keyword that share the same meaning. The key to this update is to include words and phrases of the same meaning and intent, making it easier for searchers to find exactly what they are looking for.

Intent is key

As previously mentioned, the intent is important and vital to a result being considered relevant to a search query being considered. For example, the official Google example used is ‘yosemite camping’. Queries that can relate to this are:

  • Yosemite national park ca camping
  • Yosemite campground
  • Campsites in yosemite

These search terms like this will work as they include implied words, paraphrasing and the same overall intent. In this case, the term ‘yosemite hotel’ or ‘motels in yosemite’ would not match as they are focused on a different kind of lodging and may differ greatly from what the person is question is looking for.

Why the change?

One huge benefit for Google by implementing this change is to help train the algorithms to understand and align queries that share keyword intent. Marketers can help train the algorithm to properly understand what content and search terms will meet the meaning/intent.

Google’s internal data also shows that there is a steady statistic of 15% of new searches on a daily basis. This statistic is the reason that Google has developed this update to help expand marketing opportunities and give advertisers ample opportunity to showcase their advertisements and build a more exhaustive list of search queries that are related to their product or service.

What are the results?

According to Google, early testing has shown that advertisers saw a general increase of 3% in clicks and conversions on keywords and related phrases. The majority of the increase has been acquired from the link to queries that they were not reaching under previous rules. If this positive trajectory continues, businesses can hope to see steady increases in their online traffic and conversion rates.


It is inevitable that Google will change and update their search queries to match future search terms and allow businesses to better capitalise on them and customers to benefit from more accurate and definite results.