Google officially replaced the Keyword Tool you loved (or perhaps loved to hate) with the new Keyword Planner.
If you’re wondering, ‘What does this mean?’ ‘What are the new features?’ ‘What am I going to miss?’ Read on.
Meet the New Google Adwords Keyword Planner
|Download the Google Keyword Planner Reference Guide for SEOs, highlighting key things to know about the new Google AdWords Keyword Planner Interface.|
5 Critical Changes SEOs Need To Know About:
1.) “Match Type” only available in "Review Estimates"window.
Did you use the match tool to find broader matches? It's now available in "review estimates." You have to have add your keyword, something SEOs will not catch. Hat tip to @ZLDoty for this how-to!
2.) Keywords Returned Are WAAAAAAY Too Broad
I’m building an SEO training for a group of 20 people at a company and holding classes in large volumes, but they aren’t SEOs. Unfortunately, the data returned by the tool is far too broad and often irrelevant. This means you have to spend a lot of time cleaning up the data.
In the Google Adwords Keyword Tool you had a nice “closely Related” checkbox, which didn’t make it into the Keyword Planner. The good news is Google plans to add the “Closely related” filter back in – hopefully soon.
3.) Device Targeting Currently Not Supported
Just when multi-devices started getting attention and prioritization in SEO, Google dropped the ability to report on the search volume by device (mobile vs. desktop). The Google Adwords Keyword Planner reports search volume for all devices. Google says this follows more along with their recent changes to the AdWords campaigns.
The good news: Google is working on a tool that will allow you to get traffic estimates by type and then adjust your bids for mobile devices, if you’re using the PPC route. So, SEOs, you may be able to get some insight into mobile traffic from your PPC team.
4.) Search Volumes Aren’t the Same
All that historical volume won’t work for year-over-year comparisons. Instead you’ll have to do trend line comparisons.
Some volumes go up – here’s why:
“In general, you’ll notice that the average search volume data is higher in Keyword Planner as compared to the exact match search volume data you got with Keyword Tool. That’s because we’ll show you the average number of searches for a keyword idea on all devices (desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and mobile phones). With Keyword Tool, we showed you average search volume for desktop and laptop computers by default.”
- AdWords Help, Keyword Planner has Replaced Keyword Tool
Some volumes go down – here’s why:
“Take into account only words of this language, foreign terms (partly also Anglicisms) completely fall out of the research: Language word filter”
5. ) The Columns Changed, and There is Less Data
Let’s face it, when it comes down to it, there might be little things we miss, but the main point is the data Google displays. Here is a look into the changes, further described on Google’s support page.
- Old Columns: Local Monthly Searches
and Global Monthly Searches
New Column: Average Monthly Searches
If you work with many locations across the nation and want data at a local level, you will find this extremely useful. You can get data divided at different levels, from a country to regionally or down to the city.
The good news: You can still get global monthly search volumes, it’s just not the default. By removing the region(s) selected, it will default to All Locations.
- Old Column: Ad Share
New Column: Ad Impression Share
This new column will be replacing Ad Share and is designed to help you look for any potential impressions that you may have missed or had not previously considered. Most SEOs don’t use this, so you will probably not be impacted by this change.
- Old Column: Google Search Network
New Column: Network Option
The Google Search Network column has been removed altogether, replaced by the Network Option Column. Most SEOs don’t use this, so you’ll probably not be impacted by this change.
You’ll Likely Enjoy the Data in the Export
The download has a few nice historical statistics available, but not available in the online Interface.
The inconvenience: Google has tried to streamline the online interface by minimizing the data available and moved the detailed reports to the downloadable historical statistics. This means you have to download the data to do much analysis, no more quick-n-dirty online stuff.
The interesting things in the export: You will see things like local search trends and the “extracted from webpage” column you are used to from the keyword tool. I have yet to have Google log anything there, but looks like it would be useful.
You’ll find Google’s definition of historical statistics useful in understanding what you are looking at.
You’ll Enjoy the GeoTargeting
You can get really targeted with the Keyword Planner; for those of you with a strong local strategy, you’ll love this.
There Are 3 Ways to Find the Keywords
Google has created 3 methods to help you generate keywords and choose which ones are most beneficial to you. Once you choose which method you prefer, you will be walked through a process to see how they fare.
- Option #1: Generate Ideas for Keywords
SEOs will use this method most frequently. This is the Keyword Planner that will guide you through finding the right keywords. For the most part it works very similarly to the old Google Adwords Keyword Tool. The difference seems to be the changes in data (described above).
- Option #2: Enter or Upload Keywords
You can enter up to 1,000 words or upload a csv with up to 10,000 words and see how they are preforming. This is best if you already have a list of keywords you want to use as a starting point.
- Option #3: Multiplying Keyword Lists
This is good for doing scaled keyword research, such as you might do for an e-commerce store.
This method allows you to mash up keyword lists containing up to 1,000 items. For example, you are selling paint. You can create a list with the brand name, colors, and purposes, each as their own list. Once entered, you will be again taken through the keyword planning process.
This method is most useful if you want to go through all the different options a person might use to search for your items, though the results might not be the most related to how someone might actually search.
It is worth noting that the formula between the three lists is one directional. Using the above example the words will only mash as brand - color - purpose. So make sure you have it entered in the most logical and useful order.
Kudos to Andre Alpar for his comparison table on the changes for SEO, which you should check out – very useful!
Are There Changes Coming to Help SEO Keyword Research?
Thank goodness, yes!
Results By Type: As mentioned, Google is working on a tool that will allow you to gather traffic estimates by device type and then adjust bids for mobile devices if you are using PPC.
Closely Related Searches: Thank goodness Google says this is coming within a few weeks. I’m actually shocked they launched without this feature.
If we missed anything, jot it down in the comments. Thanks!
Not in Love with Keyword Planner and Want Other Options?
Here are a few suggestions to expand your analysis; you should probably consider using multiple tools anyway:
- Bing Keyword Tool in Bing Webmaster Tools (doesn’t get mentioned much, volumes are smaller but if you’re focusing how much bigger one is versus another, it works great)
- Wordtracker (this one is an oldie but goodie, it’s been around FOREVER)
- Keyword Eye (defaults to UK data, powered by SEMrush)
- Keyword Spy (more of a spy tool than keyword research tool)
- SEMrush (I hear a lot of good things about this tool)
If you want to talk to other in-house SEOs to see what they are doing/seeing/researching, come to the In-house SEO Exchange at SMX East where in-house SEOs literally open the kimono and share anything and everything.