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Keyword Normalization

Keyword normalization is the process by which extraneous characters such as punctuation marks are removed from keywords, negative keywords, and customer queries. Normalizing keywords and queries allows more user search queries to match your keywords, thus potentially increasing ad coverage. Knowing which characters are removed can help you make your keywords more effective.

For example, suppose you bid on the keyword "bike repair". If someone searches for "bike-repair", the hyphen is removed and because it matches your keyword, your ads may serve.

Keywords are also normalized when you add them to an ad group. If you call the AddKeywords operation to add the "bike repair" and "bike-repair" keywords, the operation will return a duplicate keywords error because the normalized keywords are identical.

The following punctuation marks and characters are removed from English (United States) keywords during normalization.

  • Acute accent (´)

  • Ampersand (&)

  • Apostrophe (')

    System_CLiX_note Note

    When used as part of a name (O’Brien) or if it occurs mid-word (Coeur d'Alene), apostrophes are not normalized. When used in the possessive form, as in writer's block, the term will be normalized and the term will be writer block.

  • Asterisk (*)

  • Backslash (\)

  • Braces ({) (})

  • Brackets ([) (])

  • Colon (:)

  • Comma (,)

  • Exclamation point (!)

  • Greater-than sign (>)

  • Hyphen (-)

  • Less-than sign (<)

  • Number sign (#)

  • Parentheses (( ))

  • Percent (%)

  • Period (.)

  • Plus sign (+)

  • Question mark (?)

  • Quotation mark (")

  • Semicolon (;)

  • Slash mark (/)

Keyword normalization also provides the following functionality:

  • Normalization is not case-sensitive; for example, "bike repair" and "Bike Repair" are treated as the same phrase.

  • Normalization removes the apostrophes from the possessive form of words; for example, "Mike's" and "Mike" are treated the same.

  • Normalization does not resolve the singular and plural forms of words; therefore, "bike" and "bikes" are treated as separate keywords.

  • Normalization is always applied to keywords in customer queries. You cannot turn off normalization for the keywords that you have bid on.

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