Google update: synonyms of keywords are included within search results

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By Shannah de Ruijter

Google is constantly looking for new ways to better match search results with the keywords people are using. Several years ago, Google only displayed ads within search results whose focus keyword exactly matched the keyword used. Starting in 2014, search results took into account possible plural forms and misspellings of the keyword. A few years later, Google decided to expand again by ignoring word sequences and function words in a search. Now a new expansion within search results has been announced by Google.

What does the expansion within the search results look like?

Google is going to include synonyms, implied words and paraphrases of exact keywords in the ads between search results. When the intent and meaning of a keyword is similar to the focus keyword of your ad, Google will include it in the search results. The extension applies only to the search type exact keywords and not to the search types: keyword groups, broad keywords and negative keywords (exclusion keywords).

Google shows the following example about expansion:

example extension googleSource: Google Support

The above example shows how the extension works. When searched on the keyword 'yosemite camping', ads can also be shown with other focus keywords such as: 'yosemite national park ca camping', 'yosemite campground' and 'campsites in yosemite'.

Google's machine learning determines which ad focus keywords match search intent. Machine learning learns from big data. Through marketers' prepared search term reports in Google Ads, machine learning can figure out synonyms, implied words and similar descriptions of the exact keywords and focus keywords.

Why this expansion?

15% of the daily searches Google receives are new. The ways people search within Google keeps changing all the time. This increases the chances that your organization will be searched for on keywords that you yourself never discovered before. This can mean that you may not be found in Google as often as you would like. To avoid having to make a list of all the possible keywords you want to be found on and lose a lot of time, Google has come up with a new extension.

What does the expansion provide?

Google ran a pilot last summer to test what the results would be when the new extension is implemented. The pilot shows that for advertisers using primarily exact keywords, 3% more clicks and conversions on certain keywords were added after the extension than for the same keywords before the extension. The increase is mainly due to new keywords that have the same meaning as the focus keyword. Before the expansion, these keywords did not show the ad.

It is recommended by Google to pay regular attention to your search term reports. The keyword reports can be found within your Google Ads account. It is important that you keep an eye on which keywords are no longer relevant to your organization and which new keywords can be added to the list of keywords.

The expansion to show synonyms, implied words and paraphrases of the focus keyword within searches will begin to be deployed for English keywords starting in October. Later this year, the expansion will continue for other languages.

Want more information or have questions about the upcoming expansion within search results?

Get in touch!



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Shannah de Ruijter
Shannah de Ruijter

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