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Keyword Match Types Still Matter (Phrase & Exact Match Are Not Obsolete)



Keyword Match Types Still Matter (Phrase & Exact Match Are Not Obsolete)

A powerful tool for managing ad spend, keyword match types help advertisers tailor their ad campaigns to the most relevant audience, thus bringing in the right traffic and ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.

With the advent of more advanced targeting options, some marketers have begun to question whether keyword match types still matter.

This article will break down the historical background of match types and why they still play an important role in paid search campaigns today.

Quick Background To How We Got To Our Current State

When I started in this industry, Yahoo! was the dominant search engine. It had just two match types (standard and advanced), while Google had what we currently have (exact, phrase, and broad; although for seven years, they also had broad match modified).

When Bing (because I still refuse to call it Microsoft Advertising) separated completely from Yahoo! in the mid/late 2000s, it had the same setup as Google.

Yahoo! would eventually move to the three-match types when it went from Overture to Panama (yes, I am old), and then again when it launched Gemini (God willing, that never comes back!).

Until recent years, there was always an emphasis that exact match was the most accurate to the query, followed by phrase, then broad match modified (while it was around), and broad (which was kind of a crapshoot).

But as things evolved, close match variants as a standalone function and broad match modified went the way of Old Yeller.

In addition to this, around 2018, exact match became much looser and started to feel like a combo for phrase match and broad match modified. Needless to say, the industry masses did not receive that info well.

As Google, quite possibly for the first time, used the term “keywordless AI” in February 2023, marketers are questioning the validity of match types moving forward.

People Didn’t Take Match Type Changes Well (I Saw This At A Google Event After The Announcement)

For years, big and sophisticated operations condemned or sparingly used broad match, often due to its lower Quality Score keywords.

Advertisers almost always used exact and phrase match, duplicating the keywords in both match types and giving exact the highest bid, then phrase.

Some would also use broad, but giving it the lowest bid (to minimize risks), primarily to harvest insights from the Search Query Reports and make robust negative keyword lists (I still practice this today).

Pro-tip that is still relevant today: Never use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in ad groups with broad match keywords.

I should note that, at the 2018 SMX West, James Svoboda of WebRanking blew my mind with a hybrid match type combining broad match modified with phrase match in a single keyword. Alas, that is no longer possible.

Remember, this history ignores “keywordless” search – Shopping (formerly PLA’s), Dynamic Search Ads, Local Service Ads, or Local Search; most shopper marketing platforms or niche/unique search engines, such as Yelp. Not to mention, it predates the questionable Performance Max.

Why Do Match Types Matter, If We’re Trending Toward Keywordless Search?

I’m glad you asked me that question, as I’ve been wearing my tinfoil hat for years on this.

My only mildly proven claim is that big search (a new phrase I hope catches on) is trying to eliminate our control by getting away from the traditional keyword approach to make more money. I realize the band-aid hasn’t been ripped off (yet), and we still have some degree of control in keyword-focused search.

Therefore, focusing on match types is both relevant and important.

Some straightforward and simple answers (however, this is not all-encompassing for everyone, yet) are:

  • Shopping does not apply to all advertisers.
  • Not all advertisers have YouTube assets (and don’t want the engines creating the videos for them because they are a bit cringy).
  • Performance Max is expanding. It can be manipulated but still isn’t necessarily applicable to all advertisers.
  • Not all advertisers want to display imagery or placements in rotation (for various reasons).
  • Many advertisers want control of the spend and the ability to report based on where their ads appear.

The truth is, for various reasons, many advertisers just want to show for certain keywords in search and not much else. And “keywordless” efforts really just do not show that.

Screenshot by author, March 2023

There’s no true way to tell where your Performance Max ads show.

So, Why Do Phrase And Exact Match Still Matter?

Despite the neutering changes to them by big search, phrase and exact match still hold power.

When it comes to keyword-based search, exact match keywords still tend to hold the greatest relevancy (and thus Quality Score) to a search query.

Leading to a more cost-efficient cost per click (CPC) – with phrase match not far behind.

Exact is cheaper, as QS actually populates more often than PhraseScreenshot by author, March 2023

Exact is cheaper, as Quality Score actually populates it more often than phrase.

The Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG) model is largely a dead model for bidding; the need and usage for curated and tight-knit ad groups are still very much necessary.

Typically, this can only be achieved via phrase and exact match, as broad match is more or less a game of Russian Roulette (while I can’t explain why, it is definitely a riskier gamble using broad match in Bing than in Google).

The next need for these match types and why they are so important is often overlooked: budget cannibalization.

Budget cannibalization, in its simplest terms, means this: You have a single pool of money that everyone can take from, with little to no restriction. So, instead of everyone getting an equal share of the funds, whoever takes it the fastest will get the most.

Keywordless search bids on a user query are relevant to the website – not a specific keyword you’re specifically looking to pay for.

This essentially means a high-volume search query can steal the budget from a mid/low-volume search query, preventing an advertiser from showing for both.

Basically, think of “keywordless” and, to a degree, broad match as a mash-up of your brand and non-brand or high volume and low volume smashed together in a single ad group. Someone is going to get the short end of the stick.

So, while you may bid on “everything” with a keywordless search campaign, odds are the non-brand and/or high-volume queries account for the bulk of the spend.

Other potential queries you could show for (long tail, brand, mid/low volume, etc.) are not given an appropriate amount of budget to work with (or any at all).

Important note: Some of this is or will soon be controlled with campaign-level negatives in Performance Max (already applicable to shopping).

Thus, if you want to ensure your important keywords (i.e., brand, high volume/higher converting, etc.), a keyword-based search program consisting of phrase and/or exact match remains 100% necessary.

Making it a stand-alone campaign (I still love doing match-type isolation at the ad group level as well) ensures specific keywords or queries aren’t going to have to fight to get funds to trigger.

They will have a separate stand-alone budget for it. (And before you ask, no, a shared campaign budget will not help you in this scenario, no matter how much you think it might.)

The Takeaway

When all is said and done, here is what should be truly taken away from this article:

  • Big search is pushing hard to a “keywordless” search advertising world.
  • Keywordless search, while streamlining, lacks control and transparency, leading to cannibalization.
  • Current-day broad match isn’t much better than “keywordless” search.
  • Phrase and exact match comprised ad groups are the only way to be sure you are bidding on your intended query and minimizing the lack of transparency.
  • Lastly, because I failed to mention it anywhere earlier: The most important match type of all is negative match.

More Resources:

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI




4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.


Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.

Featured image: T. Schneider/Shutterstock

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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X




OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI


OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.

Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites




ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

ChatGPT Plus subscriptions and upgrades remain paused after a surge in demand for new features created outages.

Some users who signed up for the waitlist have received invites to join ChatGPT Plus.

Screenshot from Gmail, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

This has resulted in a few shares of the link that is accessible for everyone. For now.

RELATED: GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

In addition to the invites, signs that more people are getting access to GPTs include an introductory screen popping up on free ChatGPT accounts.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Unfortunately, they still aren’t accessible without a Plus subscription.

chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlistScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlist

You can sign up for the waitlist by clicking on the option to upgrade in the left sidebar of ChatGPT on a desktop browser.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

OpenAI also suggests ChatGPT Enterprise for those who need more capabilities, as outlined in the pricing plans below.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Why Are ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Paused?

According to a post on X by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, the recent surge in usage following the DevDay developers conference has led to capacity challenges, resulting in the decision to pause ChatGPT Plus signups.

The decision to pause new ChatGPT signups follows a week where OpenAI services – including ChatGPT and the API – experienced a series of outages related to high-demand and DDoS attacks.

Demand for ChatGPT Plus resulted in eBay listings supposedly offering one or more months of the premium subscription.

When Will ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Resume?

So far, we don’t have any official word on when ChatGPT Plus subscriptions will resume. We know the GPT Store is set to open early next year after recent boardroom drama led to “unexpected delays.”

Therefore, we hope that OpenAI will onboard waitlisted users in time to try out all of the GPTs created by OpenAI and community builders.

What Are GPTs?

GPTs allow users to create one or more personalized ChatGPT experiences based on a specific set of instructions, knowledge files, and actions.

Search marketers with ChatGPT Plus can try GPTs for helpful content assessment and learning SEO.

There are also GPTs for analyzing Google Search Console data.

And GPTs that will let you chat with analytics data from 20 platforms, including Google Ads, GA4, and Facebook.

Google search has indexed hundreds of public GPTs. According to an alleged list of GPT statistics in a GitHub repository, DALL-E, the top GPT from OpenAI, has received 5,620,981 visits since its launch last month. Included in the top 20 GPTs is Canva, with 291,349 views.


Weighing The Benefits Of The Pause

Ideally, this means that developers working on building GPTs and using the API should encounter fewer issues (like being unable to save GPT drafts).

But it could also mean a temporary decrease in new users of GPTs since they are only available to Plus subscribers – including the ones I tested for learning about ranking factors and gaining insights on E-E-A-T from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

custom gpts for seoScreenshot from ChatGPT, November 2023custom gpts for seo

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