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I'm wondering if the removal of an exact match keyword could cause rankings to drop on Bing and Yahoo, but not on Google.

A website my company manages recently experienced a dramatic loss in rankings for several keywords across Bing and Yahoo. After doing a little research, I realized that the rankings dropped around the same time that we amended the website verbiage to be more broad. Before the change, the website contained several instances of the keyword "hog hunting." Due to a change in strategy, we amended many of these instances to "hunting." However, the keyword "hog" is still mentioned in a different context quite often in the website, include in the company name and website URL.

My working theory is that Google has not dropped our rankings because the engine understands the context around the keywords, and that because the keywords "hog" and "hunting" are mentioned throughout the website, although not together, it can still infer that they are related. However, because Bing and Yahoo are not as advanced as Google, the context is not understood, and the rankings have dropped due to the loss of exact-match keywords.

Can anyone confirm that this could be the cause of the drop in rankings? Any opinions would be appreciated!

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    Basically, Bing and Yahoo are the same. Your notion that Google is more sophisticated is exactly right. It is a semantics based search engine and has not done direct keyword matches since beginning in 2002/3, 2005, and 2008 with significant advances into the semantics realm at each of these periods. Of course there were other updates along the way. – closetnoc Nov 12 '15 at 16:28
  • Domain authority and external signals impact big shifts in rankings, not so much in page content changes, in fact hardly any at all, Google loves page freshens. – Simon Hayter Nov 12 '15 at 17:30
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Yes. Use exact match to more precisely match your keyword and lower your costs. While you'll get fewer impressions, you may get a higher click-through rate (CTR), because your ad is shown to an audience looking for exactly what you’re advertising.

The higher click through rate in Bing, the higher relevancy you'll get, and the more chances of becoming more competitive in the market. This may also lead to improving your ad rank to get more exposure to relevant searches.

Using keywords that are too general like "hog" and "hunting" might result in getting more impressions because of irrelevant searches which "hog" and "hunting" is associated. High impressions and low clicks will result in low click through rate and will give you a low rank on Bing.

You can check this link from Bing: Keyword match option basics

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