We’ve all been here before. Whether it’s a forced layout change on Facebook or the new iOS software for your iPhone, when it comes to software updates, we all rebel against change.
So when Google terminated their popular Keyword Tool, many who work in the field of search engine optimization were dismayed. This tool has been the basis of keyword research for SEO professionals for years, and its replacement, Keyword Planner, has left many devoted Keyword Tool users skeptical.
Now that Keyword Tool has been gone for awhile, it’s time to end the grieving process and look at how to make the most of Keyword Planner. After playing around with the new features introduced with Keyword Planner, we’ve found some advantages and some disadvantages. You’re probably wondering how Google’s latest upgrade affects your search engine optimization efforts. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most significant changes, good and bad.
1. More Varied Search Data
Previously, Keyword Tool based its data solely on desktop search results. Now, Keyword Planner uses the results from mobiles, tablets and desktops. To be honest, it’s surprising that Google took so long to implement this particular change, as it’s a pretty important one. As we’ve pointed out in our mobile optimization blog, mobile search is huge, and growing exponentially. This is definitely a check mark in the positive corner for Keyword Planner.
2. Access to Keyword Planner Requires a Google Account
Keyword Tool was accessible to everyone. All you had to do was enter a slightly annoying captcha, and this tool was yours to use. Now, Keyword Planner is hidden behind a locked door. Which means if you don’t already have an Adwords account, you’ll need to create one. This is a big source of frustration resulting from the switchover. An Adwords account not only requires the time it takes to sign up, but also credit card information. Many feel this tool should be public like its predecessor.
3. More Geo-Targeted Data
This is one change that, once the user has acclimated to it, can come in very handy. Previously all results were lumped together as “Global Monthly Searches.” The user now has the option to geo-target their results to see more specific data based on their location. This extra data is helpful for your keyword research and search engine optimizing your website and other web content. Best of all, it makes geo-targeting local customers a little easier.
4. More Precise Cost-Per-Click Info
According to Google, the new average Cost Per Click (CPC) is much more precise than its predecessor. That sounds like a change we can get on board with. More accurate cost per click estimates will probably save you some money (and hassle!) when creating your pay per click campaigns.
5. Say Goodbye to Broad Match
This is one change that has been the source of many aggravated sighs from search professionals and SEO agencies. Previously, Keyword Tool had a default setting of “broad match”. With Keyword Planner, results will only be published for “exact match.” What does this mean? Exactly what it sounds like. What you type into Keyword Planner will only generate results if your phrasing is identical to a term that had been searched. No more wiggle room for phrasing and verb tense. Furthermore, users are no longer able to see historical broad and phrase match data. Sigh.
What does this mean for search engine optimization?
While many people and SEO agencies have been left frustrated with these changes, it’s important to remember that Google is a business. While keeping their users happy is obviously important to them, so is being profitable. These changes are undoubtedly in the company’s best interest, and therefore, are likely here to stay.
There have been a great number of adjustments made between these tools, some good and some bad. The best attitude SEO professionals can have is to embrace the changes and make the best of them. We are all at the mercy of Google’s infinite power (when it comes to search engine optimization, anyway). It’s best for all of us to embrace the new, helpful functions of Keyword Planner, and turn to third party websites to fill in the gaps left behind by the retirement of Keyword Tool.
If you have anything to add about the recent switch from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner, please feel free to leave your comments, questions or advice below. We’d love to hear your opinion on Google’s keyword researching tools and which you prefer!