Keywords and phrases underpin search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing strategies.
Google and Microsoft are recognised as two of the most prominent online advertising platforms in the virtual arena.
In February 2021, Google announced its intention to incorporate and phase out broad match modifiers (BMMs) as part of its keyword match types.
These changes aim to further AI learning and automation as the drivers of advertising.
Following hot on the heels of Google, Microsoft announced the same phrase-match changes in May 2021.
Microsoft’s announcement reopened discussions on what this means for the marketing industry.
Google insists that its phrase-match changes will allow businesses to gain customers.
Marketers, however, tend to disagree with this take on matters, questioning whether automation, control, and data transparency further advertising goals and agendas.
Frederick Vallaeys, cofounding CEO of Optmyzr, maintains that advertisers do not selectively pinpoint keywords that need to be changed for the sake of specificity.
A survey conducted by Optmyzr in February 2021 discovered that:
- 89% of marketers rely on the use of BMMs.
- 95% of all BMMs add a plus in front of key terms, instructing Google that all the terms in the key phrase have to be present.
Matt Van Wagner, the president of Find Me Faster, expressed concern and stated: “The rub of it is that machine learning doesn’t really help small accounts, it really only helps bigger accounts.”
Van Wagner went on to say that these measures will only serve to further economic inequality as smaller marketing enterprises do not have the means to acquire the data to capitalise on machine learning benefits.
Accounts, small and large alike, that depended on BMMs will invariably lose traffic as this was an effective way to establish keyword discoveries.
Pay-per-click strategies linked to brands will be affected:
- Phrase-matching will incorporate the cover searches.
- The word order in searches will impact search results.
- Phrase matches will not necessarily trigger associated advertisements based on queries or searches.
Experts advised that businesses and marketers adopt and implement measures to cross this bridge. A few of these guidelines included the following:
- Examine Google’s examples of keywords that will become obsolete.
- Keep updated on changes pertaining to the relevancy of search parameters and terms, and incorporate negative keywords to sustain click-through rates.
- Do not attempt to accommodate broad match strategies. This will waste time and funds as the essence of the search can be lost.
- Run tests to determine the effectiveness of phrase-match advertising.
- Ensure that aspects such as long-tailed keywords are assimilated into accounts to bypass the impact of future changes by platforms such as Google.
These changes highlight the crucial need for a professional marketing partner that can navigate the maze of technicalities and implement the required strategies to ensure that a business does not lose clicks and traffic.
Changes by enterprises such as Microsoft and Google are inevitable. The survival of a business is often defined in terms of its ability to adapt.