Oh, that tricky Google…the three big changes to the internet’s primary search engine has meant big changes for website marketing strategies. First, there was the switch over to the engine’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, and their recent move to encrypted keyword searches (see our last blog post); but it doesn’t stop there. Now we have Google Keyword Planner which replaces Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool. So how does it work? And what does it mean for SEO practices and online marketing overall?
Let’s face it, the AdWords Keyword Tool was primary to a lot of SEO campaigns in terms of planning. This free tool allowed website marketers to conduct comprehensive keyword research and determine which keywords and phrases produced significant search volume, and which were the most competitive.
At the end of August, however, Google replaced its enormously popular Keyword Tool with their new Keyword Planner – a tool that is available to those with an AdWords account. While the new tool at first glance seems geared towards pay per click campaigns only, there is still some functionality present for organic SEO campaigns. You can use the tool as long as you have an AdWords account – which is free to create; and there are a few benefits including a much more advanced ability to search keywords on a local level – down to the tiniest geographic region, the option to search more than 100 keywords at a time (a limit imposed by the old Keyword Tool), the ability to search combination of words from multiple lists, and the option to filter out words that have less than a particular volume, as set by you.
Users, of course, also cite some downsides such as the fact that you are now only able to select Exact Match data (instead of Broad, Phrase, or Exact), and the disappearance of the ability to extract search data from where it originated – mobile device, desktop, tablet.
All in all, we’re still able to use Google’s keyword planning tool in whatever its form – it will, as with all of these new changes, just take some getting used to.