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exact match not working properly

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# 1
Not applicable

I have various ad groups configured for different exact match key words.  However, when I type the various key words into google, I receive ads from only one ad group.  Example:


I type in "plumbing carbondale il" and receive the ad I wrote for [plumbing carbondale il].

I type in "plumber carbondale il" and receive the exact same ad, even though I wrote a different ad for [plumber carbondale il].


Any ideas? Thanks!

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: exact match not working properly

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi there;

I would, first, advise to use only the "ad preview tool" to see your ad. "Looking" for the ad on can bias the results shown. (At some point the ad will not be shown..).


As for your question -  the wrong ad is triggered when keywords in different ad-groups are competing among themselves, and  the keyword of the "other ad-group" wins the auction.


Generally speaking (with many exceptions) the keyword with the highest ad rank will trigger the ad. With many keyword and match types,  the number of combinations to solve this "multi parameter equation"  is enormous. To avoid that:

  1. Try to avoid similar KWs in different ad-groups,
  2. Set separate campaigns for different Geo targeting ares.


Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: exact match not working properly

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
I'd like to look at this from an entirely different perspective - and slightly off topic - what do people need of you? After all, you've been working with people for long enough and you'll know the sorts of things they ask.

If you've never thought of this, just ask your next customer about how they found you online, or what they'd want if they found you online. After all, if you can make it easier for them, others'll find you more easily too.

Because knowing this will allow you to work the algorithm to its maximum effect - and many of the niggles will be irrelevant because you've got crystal clear questions to feed it.

The other issue is why does someone look for "plumber" and "plumbing" - to Google it's only 0s and 1s, to your customer it's chalk and cheese. Someone who puts in plumber may be looking for a repair, plumbing may be for an entire system. You have the data, take a look.

I hope this helps clarify the issue.

Re: exact match not working properly

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# 4
Not applicable

Only using the ad preview tool is solid advice. Of course my own google results will be biased.

Different ad groups competing among themselves makes sense.

Avoiding similar keywords in different ad groups also makes sense. However, if I have a good idea of the exact match keywords my potential customers are looking for, and there are a couple dozen of these, how do I reconcile this fact without being penalized for using too many similar, competing keywords? Phrase matching with negative keywords?

I live in a peculiar geographic location, one that is transitioning from rural to urban. Many towns around here are quite small, 5-10k people, but not very far apart (5-15 miles between towns). A few larger cities in the area have up to 30k people. Our business services a large amount of towns within a 50-mile radius, probably a total of nearly 100k people.

My adwords research suggests that most of our customers are using the [plumber TOWN il] or [plumbing TOWN il] search query. How do I reconcile accurately reaching dozens of these variations (TOWN plumber, plumber TOWN, TOWN il plumber, TOWN il plumbing, plumbing TOWN il, and so forth times a dozen towns) without competing against myself or being penalized for using too many keywords?

Setting separate campaigns for different geo targeting areas seems like the perfect solution. However, after thinking about it a while, a few concerns arise.

What if my viewer is located in town A, but is looking for a plumber to do work in town B? For example, the viewer might have property located in another town, or that's where their parents live, or maybe they can only access the internet at a coffeeshop in the bigger city. I want a viewer googling 'plumber carbondale il' to find us regardless of whether they are googling us from Carbondale, Herrin, or Chicago.

And what about the reliability of geo-targeting? My research suggests that it's not entirely accurate. I don't want to waste my time striving for pinpoint accuracy only to target an audience that's going to see the wrong ad, or not have it come up at all.

I am, admittedly, an adwords novice. However, I am catching on quickly and can intuit when something does or does not work. My current campaigns are better than they were a month ago, and I hope to develop their accuracy exponentially in the months ahead. Hopefully my questions aren't too frustrating and can help others achieve their goals as well.

Re: exact match not working properly

[ Edited ]
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# 5
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Yes, I understand precisely what you are saying.


When I embarked on this campaign I was certain I wanted to target people searching for 'plumber' as opposed to 'plumbing.' My reasoning was that a plumber was someone people were looking for when they needed a person to help them, whereas plumbing was something they wanted to learn about. However, the numbers told an entirely different story.  Plumbing consistently defeated plumber in local search queries (plumbing TOWN il) at a rate of about 65-35.  


But that doesn't mean I'm only going to use plumbing and not plumber.  To the contrary, I think I need to use both.  Additionally, I can't help but wonder whether my results skew toward plumbing because that word is in the actual name of our business.  I then wonder what I can do about this.  Because I am mainly focusing on local search results, there is not quite enough search volume for google to paint an accurate picture for me.


I have been reading about letting the research guide the ads, and have to say it's a humbling, yet fascinating experience.

Re: exact match not working properly

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
You are right when you say it's a humbling and fascinating experience - once you get used to it, it's also immensely powerful. I would have agreed with your analysis of plumber-plumbing; and your experience is the more worthwhile because you took the time to look into the issue.

Given your experience using both keywords - is there any difference in the quality of the leads, that is to say, are they looking for your service? I'm asking this because if there is a distinct difference, you can tailor landing pages to suit "plumbing" and "plumber" accordingly. The other issue is that you could then have negative keywords for each search term to make each more distinct - and get less cross-matching through Google's algorithm (see Moshe's point above). This would also help because it doesn't depend on geography, it depends on what people are looking for - so if both are in the same town, they'll be sent to the appropriate landing page. You've got the metrics, grab a mug of coffee and sit down with them! It'll take a week or so to really get your head around, but a few sensible questions with your customers should help here too. Nothing like reverse-feeding your campaigns from real discussions with real customers!

Again, it's the power you get for being humble ;-)

It'll also give you ideas for new negative keywords - thus excluding bad clients before they even get to you. Unless you like trudging out at 8pm on a wet evening to repair a triviality that could wait until next week ... my ex had a building firm in the UK which I all but turned around by accident. That can wait for another day.

Enjoy Adwords, and enjoy the better class of customer that you can get through your campaigns!! Working for customers who really appreciate you will make getting up in the morning something you'll want to do.