Hell has landed, this time on the Keyword Planner Tool!
One of google’s latest changes in Adwords now changes where it once gave approximation of data to keywords like this:
It now ranges data like this:
Prior to this were a bunch of technical issues with the tool, they were fixed and then this came along. With the massive lack of accuracy in the estimations, people are currently left guessing in examples like “keyword tool”, if it’s closer to the 1K side or closer to the 10K side. This causes issue when you’re trying to calculate priority of keywords to target and allocate budget weather it be adwords or focusing your SEO efforts.
Don’t worry though, it’s not all terrible..?
The fun part is that they announced it won’t affect everyone, just those “Advertisers with lower monthly spend”, of which no definition was provided as to what that limit currently is.. That’s also tough news for soley SEO’s that don’t have access to higher spending Adword accounts as it will limit their data they can provide for keyword research.
So there’s technically no “fix”, but there are a few work arounds:
Running A Keyword in Adwords
One way to gather the data is just to setup the keyword in Adwords, provide a budget that doesn’t limit impressions/searches and let it run for a month. You’ll then have your estimate for the remainder of the month. However, this is going to cost you every single month for every single keyword and not in the least the most efficient which leads us to-
Get a MCC Account
An MCC( My Client Center) Account in Adwords is basically a way you can handle multiple Adword accounts under one super account. There have been a few reports that getting a MCC Account and connecting at least 1 Adwords account to it has allowed access to the keyword planner tool with no restriction (When used as the MCC Client centre account user). Not everyone has had this method operational so far though keep in mind, seems a bit hit and miss and if/when Google finds enough people utilising this, they’ll probably block it as well.
Use a Major Keyword Analysis Tool (Preferred)
There are many many keyword lookup tools, paid and free around the internet you
can could use. A lot of smaller tools utilised google to gather these results and display them, so since the day of reckoning with the keyword planner tool, several tools used by many SEO/SEM’s met their demise alongside. I’ll propose that most of them will be looking to back off some of other keyword volume data monsters like SEMRush, but until that happens read below.
All hope is not lost.
There are three major players that are regularly talked about in the industry, SEMRush, Moz and Ahrefs. Major aggregators of data for Search and PPC Data all of which as of today testing, are still operational.
Firstly, SEMRush stores and tracks many millions of keywords itself and updates daily and therefore as an independent should still be operational since the change. As per their FAQ –
SEMrush analyses the top 20 Google (and Bing U.S.) search results for each keyword in our database. Using our proprietary collection methods, we now have a database of over 100 million keywords and 45+ million domains. For every keyword, we take a snapshot of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). We use our Live Update algorithm to keep our 26 regional databases fresh.
Then we have AHREFS, now while testing and gathering information on each of the tools to see which would be most appropriate since the recent change, I couldn’t find any specific information through their blog or others confirming 100% whether they source their data primarily from the Keyword Planner tool / The Google API.
This makes this an unstable choice in my opinion, as it could mean they’re using cache data that could be come outdated if they have no alternative at this point. As of writing this, I’ve contacted AHREFS to hopefully get some insight no response just yet, I’ll update this once I do.
A response from AHREFS has yielded the following to the question posed:
Yes, indeed, the numbers in GKP and Ahrefs are now different because we didn’t update our database after the change and obviously now not going to do that…
Instead we’re working at our own solution for calculating accurate keyword volumes, based on a few different sources of data.
It is expected to come live in October with all the details explained in our blog.
For now, this indicates that AHREFS is not a reliable source of search volume data and while AHREFS is a major player in the industry and will almost certainly implement this as fast as possible, right now they’re lagging behind.
Lastly, MOZ. Now Moz, came out recently with it’s new keyword explorer tool. While this tool has a range of fairly insightful features (read their article, it’s worth it if you handle keyword data in any form to see if it could benefit you), they also do an estimation on keywords. However their estimations are to accurately represent the keyword data that they collect as per their statement:
Since we know that Google’s numbers don’t actually have precision, but do indicate a bucket, we realized we could create ranges for volume and be significantly more accurate, more of the time. But, that’s not all… We also have access to anonymized clickstream data here at Moz, purchased through a third-party
Pricing – Breakdown
The biggest question to each of these tools is pricing. As current, I’ve excluded AHREFS from my options AS A KEYWORD VOLUME RESEARCH TOOL. So the last two in question are SEMRUSH and MOZ.
To access Moz’s Keyword Explorer soley you can pay $50 (USD) /month for 5000 keyword reports (per month) or if handling much higher volume of keywords, most likely an agency then you can utilise their “Keyword Explorer Level 2” package at $150 (USD) /month which provides 30,000 keyword reports. As for using the tool, it would seem each lookup of a keyword is considered a report.
In contrast, SEMRUSH doesn’t have an “exclusive” keyword analysis tool option, however their pricing for their software which includes it is $69.95 (USD) for “3000 Reports a day”, $149.95 (USD) for “5000 Reports a day” and $549 (USD)/month for “10,000 reports per day”. It is unclear if keyword searches in their tool counts as a report. However, as their tool has a Project Limits section –
(of which a project is not needed to use the keyword section of their site, I would assume you could utilise the cheapest package if its sole purpose is for keyword research.
While I’m currently utilising a combination of both, I realise it’s not in everyone’s budget, you can get trials of each software. I should explain at this point I use both for several other features that they provide which allow for enough data to basically have a backup and confirm my data. I’d give them a shot and see which you like most and what lines up if you had any data previously gathered, keeping in mind the estimation of actual keyword searches by the keyword planner had inconsistencies beforehand according to the Moz Team’s research.