Exact match no longer means the exact words in the exact order. Now it means the exact words for the exact meaning or variants of that exact meaning. At least for Google.
So whether a consumer searches for "snow tires" or "tires for snow," Google wants to prevent marketers from having to build out "exhaustive" keyword lists to reach intended consumers. The tire search example is different from the keyword phrase "ice blender" or "blended ice." In this example, the meaning is not the same.
Google says that early tests show advertisers saw up to 3% more exact-match clicks on average with comparable click-through and conversion rates.
The changes make sense, since Google continues to build out its semantic search and machine-learning capabilities. In the coming months, exact-match targeting will take into consideration close variants of words that include abbreviations, adverbs, singular or plurals, and more. The change means that Google will ignore word order if the words in the order reflect the same meaning as the original exact-match trigger keywords.
Google said it also will ignore function words. These are prepositions such as "in" and "to; conjunctions such as "for" and "but," articles such as "a" and "the," and other words that don't have an impact on the search query.
Google gives this example: the "in" in "hotels in los angeles" will be ignored because it doesn’t affect the meaning of the phrase, but the "to" in "flights to los angeles" would not be ignored, because a "flight from los angeles" is not the same as a “flight to los angeles."
Two keywords can share the same meaning, even if the word order is slightly different. For example,
“buy new cars” and “new cars buy.” Now, exact match will use that same logic to match with queries that are reordered variations of your keyword.
Since two keywords can share the same meaning, even if the word order differs, exact match will use the same logic to match with queries that are reordered variations of your keyword.
Miguel Villalobos, product manager, search keywords at Google, explains in a blog post that with the expansion, marketers will not need to build and maintain lists of reworded and reordered exact match keyword to get the coverage.