If you use the popular Google Keyword Tool for SEO and keyword research for websites and ads, you may have noticed that there’s soon to be a shift to the new Keyword Planner. Similar to its predecessor, Keyword Planner allows you to create keyword lists as well as ad groupings, but it’s not too hard to see that Google seems to be trying to push users towards creating ads and buying keywords as opposed to simply using the tool for organic SEO. This makes sense seeing as that’s how Google makes more money…
How is Keyword Planner different from Keyword Tool?
As the name suggests, the focus is on planning out whole AdWord campaigns, with an emphasis on keyword searches along with traffic estimates. Some of the main changes seem to be around the statistics on searches.You need to add your keyword ideas to your overall keyword plan to get more information and traffic estimates. The good news is that you get more data – instead of a default of search estimates for desktop and laptop users only, the new functions include all mobile users and tablets too, which makes sense in terms of today’s web users.
Keywords From Webpages Removed
Something that I really like with the Keyword Tool is the ability to look at what keywords already appear on a site (especially useful if I am trying to update the content on a website and want to know what they already have). This has been taken off the main interface. Now, to get this information, you need to download your historical statistics from the Keyword Planner and it will then give you that data.
Local and Monthly Searches Replaced
Of course one of the main elements of organic SEO, as well as ad campaign choices, is to review local and monthly searches to get an idea of how the keywords perform. This has been replaced with “average monthly searches”. The focus seems to be on nano targeting. You can still get global monthly searches if you select to target all locations, but now you can get a simplified version of this information. The average monthly search function allows you to pick specific targets (e.g. countries, cities, or regions) to help create more accurate keywords. You can also still get local search volume trends, but this is also only when you download your historical statistics. It does seem like the changes are making the process a little simpler, though in playing around with the tool, I get the impression you see less upfront.
Other Changes in Keyword Planner
Some of the features that have been removed from the Keyword Tool include the Search Share column and the Ad share column (according to the Keyword Planner information page, Google is working on a replacement for the latter). Another change is more accurate CPC (Cost-Per-Click) data. Instead of “approximate CPC” – the Keyword Tool version, Planner has an “average CPC” column, making this data more specific and, therefore, more useful for ad campaigns.
Keyword Research With Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner still works well for keyword research as it still allows you to get ad group ideas as well as individual keywords and keyword phrases, but it operates more on a selection – Google likens it to a shopping cart idea. You can pick the words you want to use and add them to your overall plan. You can then build lists and the tools are able to do automatic combinations. For example, you may have a list of locations and then a list of keywords that you want to combine with those locations (e.g. real estate agents and the cities they work in). Keyword Planner can combine these and generate a list of suggested keyword phrases based on your separate lists (e.g. real estate agents Vancouver). The instructions on the Google Planner information site explain exactly how to do this. I foresee this as a great time saver as you can then get traffic estimates and statistics for these new phrases.
Analysis of Keyword Planner
So is it a good change? I don’t see it as being too different from the latest incarnation of the AdWords Keyword Tool, though it may take a bit of time to get acclimated to the changes and the concept of keywords first, data after, as well the ‘shopping cart’ concept to build keyword plans. I look forward to exploring it and seeing whether it really improves my organic SEO campaigns. I like the idea of being able to get more specific with targeting and that there seems to be a less is more approach to the layout and set up. I also think that, as the name suggests, rather than just doing research with the tool, you can build more of a concentrated plan for your SEO.
Only time will tell, though, and I still suggest that no matter the tool, always default to the number one rule of SEO – write for people, not search engines.