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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Google Keyword Planner

Well, the time has come, the Google Keyword Tool is being replaced by the Google Keyword Planner as the new source for Google search volume data. This is going to mean a lot of search engine optimization processes, and SEO specialists, will need to take careful note of the differences between the two tools and determine how to adjust. For the most part, the process is the same — but our main data point, the monthly search volume figure — has changed drastically in it’s definition.

To get the most out of the Google Keyword Planner for keyword research we need to know how to interpret the new, and different, data. Don’t be alarmed – I will walk you through the changes, and show you the brightside of the move to the Google Keyword Planner. Afterward, I think you will be confident that this change is a good thing – and you wont need to cling to the older less helpful search data in the Google Keyword Tool.

How is the new ‘Avg. monthly searches’ figure different from the old one?

There are a few key facts to understand about this new search volume data.

  1. There are no more options for match type (like Broad, Exact, or Phrase). Everything is exact match now.
  2. There is no more global/local. We don’t have to play the whole ‘local’ versus ‘global’ game now. You can geo-target for specific countries, metro areas, and even the whole world if you want global statistics.
  3. keywordplanner-mouseoverchart

  4. The avg. search volume figure is a 12-month average. You can view the last several months of search volume in the chart mouseover to the left of the ‘avg. search volume’ figure.
  5. The new avg. search volume figure includes mobile & tablets by default! The old Google Keyword Tool was only Desktop & Laptops by default.

Many of the above changes offset each other, but supposedly the ‘Avg Monthly Search Volume’ in the Keyword Planner is generally going to be higher than the ‘Local Exact’ figure in the Keyword Tool. I have tested a number of keywords and have found mixed results, many keywords seem to now be showing smaller numbers. I think this has to do with the figure being a ‘running 12-month average’ in the Google Keyword Planner so for some keywords this can really bend the average up or down.

3 Reasons why SEO’s should look forward to the switch

Search Volume Data is Simpler – By getting rid of all the match types, and the local/global, and adding in mobile — Google has made this data easier to deal with, and more inclusive/helpful for search specialists who want to include mobile searches in their analysis by default. This is a big win here, also the little mouseover charts that reveal the past few months of data are great (and that data is downloadable also!).

Filters have been Upgraded – The keyword planner makes it much easier to cut through the clutter. You can easily filter by search volume, by include/exclude keywords, and even set keyword blacklists.

Geographical Segmentation/Local SEO Have Taken A Huge Step – There is a whole new layer of data here, in that we can specify geographically down to the metro area. The best we used to be able to do was countrywide with the Keyword Tool. This is a great asset for SEO specialists, as often we are competing geographically when brick-and-mortar businesses are in-play — and now we can get deeper into the data and get to know the local volume of the keywords.

That’s it for today! Happy keyword hunting!

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