two corgie puppies representing exact match keywords

Exact match keywords are search terms that you, ideally, want to work into your website that matches, verbatim, the phrases Google shows are searched most often by your target audience.

In our example for this story, in the "keyword ideas" screen shot below, Google shows the phrase "eyeglasses Columbus Ohio" is searched 260 times a month.

The problem is, trying to incorporate the exact match phrase, "eyeglasses Columbus Ohio," naturally into copy, can make it seem like English isn't your first language. And for your prospects and customers reading your website, you definitely don't want to come across that way.

So if it's not natural to use an exact match keywords , it's natural to wonder how well variations on that phrase, such as "eyeglasses in Columbus Ohio" work.

screenshot showing Google exact match keyword results

Turns out there's flexibility in using exact match keywords.

Turns out using what are called "stop words" in exact match phrases, to make your copy sound more natural, is perfectly natural to Google. "Stop words," as you might have figured out, are words like "in," "the" and "and." So even though people search "eyeglasses Columbus Ohio," Google "sees" the phrase "eyeglasses in Columbus Ohio" as being just as good.

Plus, using variations on "exact match" keywords can actually help Google's algorithms understand what your website is explaining.

For example, using synonyms in your copy can offer more context, actually helping Google understand the meaning of your landing page. Additionally, if your keyword is “glasses,” using phrases like "eyeglasses" or "frames" or "lenses," helps to differentiate between eye glasses and drinking glasses. And the more in-depth your content is, the more you can differentiate between "eyeglasses" and "drinking glasses" helping search engines interpret your content all the better.

An example of Google's exact match interpretations

Google uses the chart below as an example of how and when additional words are implied. For example, when a series of words paraphrases the keyword, their algorithms understand it is the same intent.

chart showing exact match options

What happens if your keyword is also a common phrase?

It's probably a long shot that your company name, or what you sell, has the same name as a movie, or common item, but something similar can happen. Surprisingly, it actually happened to one of our clients, Treplus Communities, who used the word "downsizing" as one of their main keywords.

As a 55+ community developer, we had success using the keyword "downsizing" for their website. Then Matt Damon's movie "Downsizing" came out, and a search for the word "downsizing" turned up results for his movie. On every result of the first four pages! After the movie came out, Treplus Communities' site on Google's search results were pushed all the way back to page 5 for that search term.

At first, we worried this situation was a bit of a disaster. But when thinking it through, it was actually a big benefit to Treplus Communities. Why is that? Well, if someone Google'd just the word "downsizing," and the only results were Matt Damon's movie, and assuming that wasn't what they were looking for, they'd have to be more specific. They'd have to use additional keywords. So instead of just Googl'ing "downsizing," they'd have to add words like "condos" or "apartments." And when they added those keywords to their search, Treplus Communities showed up back on top of page 1.

We wrote a blog about the "downsizing" keyword scenario here.

Matt Damon's movie poster for Downsizing

Or, you could go with "LSI" keywords.

You could go a step further and focus on LSI keywords, or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. Following this technique helps you show Google the context for your keyword. Rather than adding just any synonym from the thesaurus, you would naturally include terms that explain your intention for your product or service.

If your term “glasses” is referring to eyeglasses rather than drinking glasses, you obviously talk about eyes rather than drinking. (This concept is easy for humans to understand, but harder for algorithms.) If your company has the same name as a movie or common item, such as the Apple brand , or apple the fruit, the LSI keywords that describe what your business does, will tell Google your page is not associated with either a piece of fruit, another company, or even a movie.

Because Google changes it's algorithms often, and what worked back in the "olden days" of SEO (ie: last year) might not work as well now. So it's important to keep up on the seemingly little things, which is why, in the world of SEO, we do sweat the small stuff.

And this is why you should consider using a copywriter.

While we agree no one knows more about your business than you, writing for the web is very different than writing for print.

The content, and keywords, in your website is one of the things that Google's algorithms use to determine how successful your SEO will be. That's because your website is being read by two "audiences": your prospects, and Google's algorithms.

So while no one knows more about your company than you, writing content for your company's website is unique, and requires time, attention, and a thorough understanding SEO.

Sometimes, in an effort to save some money, folks will suggest they write the copy for their websites. And if they want to do that. it's fine, s long as we educate them about the pros and cons of writing for their own website.

While we research, and provide, the keywords that are critical to use in their copy, we also offer as much guidance as they're willing to take to help ensure the copy for their website is "SEO-friendly." Read more about the benefits of having a professional writer create the content for your site here.