Thursday, September 27, 2018

Check Close Variants Your Ads Are Showing For

Google changed how Close Variants work and now exact match keywords may also show an ad when Google believes the meaning of the search is the same as the keyword. Kind of like a synonym, but potentially even broader.

So here's a script you can use to see exactly what Google considers to be a 'close variant'. The script pulls all queries that were triggered by close variants. It also pulls the associated keyword. It joins the query and keyword and then puts the data on a spreadsheet.

On the spreadsheet, you can see line by line what the keyword is and what the close variant is. If you want, you can compare metrics to decide if a close variant that seems a little odd may actually be outperforming the keyword. 

I thought it'd also be interesting to add an automatic way to see how close the query is to the keyword. Whereas going from the keyword [optmyzr] to 'opmyzr' seems like a definite good case of a close variant because it's a simple typo in a brand name, going from [campsites in yosemite] to 'campgrounds yosemite' may be too much of a stretch from the original keyword.

To calculate the similarity of the close variant to the keyword, I found an algorithm for the Levenshtein distance which counts the number of characters that must be deleted, edited or added to go from one string to another string. A big number in the Levenshtein column means the query is more different from the keyword.

Grab the code below to try it in your Google Ads account. I've also included a table showing how match types work after the change from Google and a video that goes through using the script in case anyone is just getting their feet wet with scripts.