Organic Keyword Research: From AdWords Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner

Recently Adwords keyword tool users saw their trusty old bookmark take them to a new interface called the Keyword Planner, with a message warning that the old tool would be soon gone.

Google AdWords_ Keyword Planner_2013-08-28_10-47-14

The new interface is poised to improve keyword research for your AdWords projects, and I think it does do that, but what effect will it have on folks who use it for organic keyword research?

I certainly had some anxiety about this, and I suspect most other folks in the organic SEO space did too. After all, this tool has been the most reliable source of keyword ideas and search volumes for years, and a pillar of all good keyword research.

Well the day has come, and I’m a lot less anxious about the change than I thought I’d be. Here’s why:

Keyword ideas and search volumes

You still get up to 801 keyword ideas for every term you research. These ideas are crucial to my discovery process. You also still get a monthly average for each term, though I’ve noticed that the numbers fluctuate more from day to day in the new tool.

You’ll also see slightly higher numbers in the Planner, since Google is including searches from mobile and tablets by default, in addition to the desktop and laptop searches that were previously the default.

Geo-specificity down to the city

This is a pretty awesome improvement. The old tool only allowed segregating searches by country. Now we can get right down to the city! Especially helpful since local SEO has become so prominent.

Match types

You used to have to make extra sure you had the correct match type selected or your data set might leave you comparing apples and oranges (ie. comparing some phrases with broad match and some with exact). I know I had a few frustrating moments when I realized the last few keywords I pulled were set to broad match, and had to start again.

Well, the new tool gives you exact match, and that’s it (for search volumes). And I love it. Exact match gives you the ideal number – how many searches for that exact phrase.

Downloading your data

This was my first and biggest fear – that there would be increased restriction on how you could download the keyword ideas and volumes. Thankfully, this remains more or less the same. You add your searches to an ad group and then download up to 3,000 at a time into the format of your choice (including .CSV).

Phewf.

Negative keywords

Here’s another very welcome addition (if this was previously available, I didn’t know about it…). You can now add negative keywords which will help you clean up your keyword ideas list before you even download them!

Restricted to AdWords users

The new tool is only available for logged-in AdWords users. This means you can’t use the tool without signing in like you used to, but this shouldn’t affect most of us.

You had to sign into the old tool to avoid having to enter captchas on every query anyway, plus you don’t need to actually be running any ads to use the new tool – so it’s still free.

Anything I missed?

Obviously I’m only covering this news from the organic/keyword research angle – so I’m sure there’s much more to reflect on when you actually use it for AdWords

But if there’s anything notable that I missed or you have anything to add, please let me know in the comments!

  • Ro

    On the match type issue, their UI is confusing. It implies that you can enter different match types when you search by entering punctuation like this: keyword, [keyword], etc. But if you do that you get the same keyword listed twice with the same volume info! Just a thought…

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