One of the most important tools of a search engine optimization specialist is their keyword tool. They have been around for over a decade and have been the result of millions upon millions of dollars to those using them.
I would guesstimate that 99% of the ones currently being sold are based off of the free Google keyword tool. The bad news is that Google is retiring it – rendering all other keyword tools extinct.
Let me quote an email my good friend Joe Finn (he is well known and respected in the SEO community) sent out earlier to his list:
Joe Finn here, with another message where you’re not being pitched ANYTHING.
And yes, you read that correctly, Google is going to remove the good old Google Keyword Tool (GKT) that is the basis of nearly every keyword research tool out there. I don’t know exactly when, but it’s likely that GKT will be removed/retired in a few weeks at most.
What this means is that all the software tools relying on GKT will stop working very soon, and people will be scrambling to figure out how to do their niche & keyword research from then on.
I will be looking for software and services that use the new replacement (see below) and if I find any good one(s) I’ll recommend the best to you.
What will replace it? Enter the shiny new Keyword Planner. And there are some serious
changes afoot. Here’s some documentation from Google about the new Keyword Planner:
So what changes?
First of all, the Keyword Planner is only available if you have an adsense account. And you must be logged into the google account associated with your adsense account to access it. I can’t even post a URL of the new Keyword Planner here, because any URL I post will not work for you, because it is personalized to my account. The best way to get to the Keyword Planner is to go to GKT — the URL is: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer and click on the link below the green toolbar.
So — requiring you to be logged into the google account associated with your adsense account means that you can no longer do anonymous keyword research. You must now identify yourself in order to access Google’s vast information store. And do you think Google might find it interesting to see what keyword ideas you’re searching for and what you’re advertising for, if you use adsense? You bet. This is another step in their campaign to raise the revenue and profit from adsense.
Second, and this IMHO is a good thing, the broad match and phrase match traffic estimates are not available in Keyword Planner. Only exact match traffic estimates are available. The broad and phrase match estimates were wildly inaccurate anyways, so removing them is the logical thing to do.
Third, Keyword planner provides integration between keyword research and ad spend, to give you performance data for your past campaigns based on the estimate of how much traffic you’d get versus how many clicks you actually got. And if you also use Google Analytics, then you can also track how well the traffic converted. Nifty if you use adsense, but scary if you’re just doing keyword research for ogranic rankings and traffic.
So in summary — I’m giving you a heads up that keyword and niche research is about to undergo some major changes and the tools you’ve invested in in the past may not make the transition through these changes. Certainly if you’re considering investing in some keyword research tools now, you should ask hard questions like “will this work with Google’s new Keyword Planner?”.
And I’ll recommend some tools that do and will work with the new keyword research & traffic estimate system from Google, their new Keyword Planner.
Thanks for reading!
Yours In Success,
Joe is an awesome guy to follow when it comes to SEO stuff as he does a great job of keeping people in the loop.
I know I have recommended various cool keyword tools in the past and for good reasons. I would have never thought that Google would discontinue their tool and honestly, I don’t know of anyone who could have predicted it.
I will say though: My last keyword tool recommendation still stands (read about it here). It is not based off of Google’s keyword tool and will as a result remain un-affected (and functional) when Google renders theirs extinct.
What are your thoughts on these changes? How (if at all) will it affect you?