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AdWords Discontinues 'Show Close Variants' Option

Aug 16, 2014, 14:34 PM | Published under News & Events , Search Engine Optimization

Google recently took away the ability to deselect the option to “show close variants” for their keywords within the campaign. For readers who haven't heard, here’s a brief description of the controversy. It used to be that when you built an ad campaign Google would, by default, select the option to show close variants to your keyword, however, you were also able to deselect that option.

So if yor keywords consisted of “basketball hoops”, when someone searched for “basketball nets” it would still trigger your ad in the search results. However, you could deselect that option, and make it so that “basketball nets” would no longer trigger “basketball hoops”.

Now, you can no longer deselect the “close variants” option, and for every keyword you have, close variants will trigger your ad. It has been reported that a lot of search marketers have come out against this decision. Most of the complaints I read were about the exact match option. They felt that they should have the right to continue to use exact match option, but the thing I found interesting is that none of them ever said WHY they wanted to use it.

Now, from a capitalist perspective I can understand the desire for the freedom of choice. The freedom to choose is at the foundation of the progressive movement. On the other hand, if we dig a little deeper, we can see that the only real value the exact match option has is in the case of dynamic keywords.

If you have a list of dynamic keywords and you need for that keyword and only that keyword to be inserted into the ad, because nothing else would make sense in that ad, and if you could only control that by deselecting the “show close variants” option, then yes you need to be able to toggle between those options. But in dynamic keywords it does not insert close variants into the ad – only the keyword that triggered the ad. So the “show close variants” option does not interfere with dynamic keywords. And given that close variants never show for ridiculously off-topic keywords, they usually do nothing but help ad campaigns.

I’m with Google on this one. As long as the close variants don’t go way off topic, and can stay extremely relevant to the keywords, it only improves ad campaigns. I say there is absolutely no harm in taking away the option to deselect the close variants option. Although, as someone who loves freedom of choice, I sympathize with those who cry foul, but I also know that this does no real damage, and in fact, it really only prevents unskilled Marketers from damaging themselves. 

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