Currently, advertisers have the option to include or exclude close variant matching to exact and phrase match keywords in Google AdWords, but starting in late September, that's going to change. On August 14th, Google announced that they will be applying close variant matching to all exact and phrase match keywords, removing the option to opt-out.
So what does this mean? It means your ads may show up for any variation of a user's search query including misspellings, singular/plural forms, acronyms, stemmings, abbreviations and accents. For example, when close variant matching is on, your ads may show up for the following search queries around "cleaning equipment".
- Clening equpment
- Cleaning equipments
- Cleaning equip
- Clean equipment
If you currently have this option turned off, your ads only appear when a user searches exactly for "cleaning equipment."
While I agree this change will help eliminate the efforts of building extensive keyword lists, I don't think taking this away from advertisers is completely necessary. The time they are saving by not adding dozens of keywords, is now time they need to spend building negative keyword lists. Since this feature is on by default in AdWords, most accounts won't be affected by this change. But for those advertisers who have close variant matching turned off, starting in September, they'll need to adjust their accounts accordingly by adding those specific close variant terms as negatives to each ad group or campaign.
According to Google, at least 7% of search queries have misspellings and by making this option universal, advertisers won't be missing out on those valuable opportunities.