From the Keyword Tool to the Planner: What Google’s changes mean for you

If you’ve used Google’s external keyword tool recently, you’ve probably seen this little notice that it’s going to be shut down in just a few months..file-330528939

As it states, Google is going to pursue a complete phase out of the keyword tool. The tool is really handy in that it provides users with statistics and data on how frequently a word was searched. It also suggested words containing your keyword that are also being searched (for example, searching “eggs” also brings up things like “eggs and bacon” and “fried eggs”, and the frequency those words are searched, too).

The current tool proves extremely beneficial to advertisers, who can easily determine which keywords and spend levels their ad will need to get the most views. It also divides the number of searches by local and global, and ranks the competition (low, medium, or high). It is also handy for checking the competition for organic SEO research, which is probably why they are phasing it out.

So what exactly is changing?

The adwords keyword planner is going to replace the old keyword tool. One major change is that in order to use this service, you need to have an active adwords account and be logged in.

The new tool doesn’t provide the same statistics as the old one did, or not yet at least (Google has said they are working on this). In addition, they have removed the column that provides you with the number of local users who have searched for the keyword, and only shows you the global data. This is pretty inconvenient for people who want to determine whether a keyword is localized in the search results or not.

Why would we bother switching?

Simply put, because we will all have to. You can’t fix something that isn’t broken, but Google is trying to anyways. The adwords keyword planner isn’t necessarily worse… slightly less convenient is what I would call it. To be fair, Google is still working on integrating the data into the new adwords tool, so hopefully a few of the kinks will get worked out before we lose the option of using the older tool.

Also, adwords combines traffic data with the data from the old keyword tool, so together this data covers a larger area than before (and you only need to do one search instead of two). The purpose of Google introducing this new tool is to provide a focused search that makes things easier for advertisers.

The older version was more general, which means you got a lot less specific data, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because it was more general, it could be used in a variety of ways and provide you with ideas and keywords that weren’t as related to your search, but could still prove helpful.

Out with the old, in with the new..

Once you’ve parted ways with the old version and are ready to use the new system, you might find it hard to adjust. After you’ve signed in with your adwords account, you’ll come to this screen, which provides you with three different options.file-331257388

Primarily, you’ll be clicking on the first option. This way, when you search for keywords, Google suggests similar words to search for, which is pretty useful. After you’ve entered your search, you’ll notice that this tool provides comprehensive data, displayed side-by-side.

The old tool did this too, but failed to provide the more complete range of data you’ll be getting now. You can see the global number of visitors, rankings of the competition, and the CPC (cost per click). With all this data in one place, it does make your search a bit easier.

Multiplying keywords is a pretty helpful add-on, too. You can chose up to 3 lists of words to multiply, and Google will then exhaust every possible combination of those words. The data you get from the multiplier is helpful to a point, but also has its drawbacks. When you’re multiplying many different words, chances are the people who are searching for something won’t use that exact combination.

In summary

In the end, the keyword planner is something we need to accept and embrace (because, frankly, you don’t have a choice). It has a lot of great things and combines data to limit the amount of work on your end, which allows it to really focus in on the keyword search.

Although you’ll need to make an account if you don’t already have one, and won’t see certain ad statistics that the old one had, the new system has a lot of potential to improve your keyword searches. Hopefully, in the coming months, the Adwords keyword planner will live up to its “goal” of helping users focus their searches and advertise more effectively.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.