Google has announced plans to remove the “close variant” option this month, no longer allowing advertisers to opt out. This matching option helps Google match keywords within the campaign and ad group to close variants including plurals and misspellings.
For example, if an exact match keyword is listed as [kids clothing], searches for "kids clothng" and even “kids clothes” could still trigger the ad. Using this option simplifies keyword management as plurals, misspellings and close variants will not need to be set up separately to trigger ads. Most advertisers already accept this default setting, which includes close variants, so Google does not anticipate this change will affect a large percentage of accounts. Any current advertisers that opt out of close variants as a bidding strategy will need to make adjustments leading up to this change.
We recommend using negative keywords to isolate any “close variants” that are deemed undesirable. For example, the exact match keyword [bulldog] for a breeder’s advertising campaign might trigger when someone searches “bulldawg” which is an intentional misspelling associated with a team mascot. Adding the negative keyword “bulldawg” would be the only way to avoid this close variant.