If you've ever tried to figure out what keywords people are using in search, you've undoubtedly used Google's External Keyword Tool. Well, as you've probably read, Google is killing it:
With Keyword Planner, we've combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That's why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns. We've also added several new features with Keyword Planner.
Okay, so Google isn't leaving us completely hanging. But is the new Keyword Planner really a viable replacement?
It isn't exactly being praised.
But people don't like change, and all that jazz.
In my experience neither the old Google Keyword Tool nor the new Keyword Planner tool are really all that accurate.
Sure, they can give you some general information about keywords and trends for comparison.
But as anyone who has managed a paid search campaign knows, your actual account data is likely to be vastly different from what the tools report.
So, to me, this change really isn't really that big of a deal.
To me, the bottom line is: if you want accurate keyword data, you have to pay for it.
Okay, looking for alternative tools for keyword research? Kristi Hines has nice list of free and premium keyword research tools at iAcquire.
- Search suggestions and related searches
- Good old-fashioned brainstorming
- Historical paid search account data
If you have it, historical account data should be the most accurate.
If you're just getting started, brainstorm. Ask your clients how they would search for information about their problems. Ask them how they describe what you do. Ask them to describe what they think they need you to do for them.
Even better, have them sit down at a computer and have them start searching. Watch what they do. Build content and bid on keywords based on what you see them searching for.
Don't get me wrong, tools have their place.
But people search in all sorts of different ways.
There's really no substitute for observing exactly how your clients use search engines when looking for information about what you do.
Don't obsess over those few "magic" keywords that you think will change your business. They won't. And you'll pay a lot of money to learn that lesson.