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R.I.P. Google Keyword Tool. Long Live SEO!

Attendees sat stunned at #SMX East as Baris Gultekin, Group Product Manager, Google AdWords, Google, Inc. clarified that the ubiquitous AdWords Keyword Tool now only provides keywords Google deems “commercial.” It’s been obvious anyway by degraded results over the last few weeks. This represents a shift of seismic proportions to those who utilize the tool for demographic research purposes, in and outside of AdWords. Here’s an overview of what we just lost and how to get the data anyway. [Author's Note 1/1/2011: The KW tool has been updated. After reading this post, head over to our coverage of AdWords keyword tool fixes.]

smx-crowd

Google Backpedals
Google owns the largest first-hand sampling of query data in many parts of the world. Now, breaking rank with 15+ years of holistic search engine open-source tradition, Google has decided marketers should no longer have easy access to the long, or even mid tail data (search inventory), unless the keyword has demonstrated “commercial” characteristics historically.  Effectively, in tandem with the well-established user-herding “suggest” feature, this move consolidates Google’s semantic semi-monopoly into fewer keyword SKUs.

keyword-tool

Sadly, this evolution has shut off our ability to mine much meaningful semantic data at all from the tool. This may be great for Google’s bottom line, or not. One might assume financial motivation. It’s bad for marketers who use the tool for a wide range of activities, none the least if buying AdWords and optimizing sites for Google’s organic crawl.  Some would say it’s an incredibly selfish move by Google, yet more evidence that big G’ wants us to optimize AdWords accounts and organic pages, but not too much, too easily or too quickly without spending wads of cash first to figure things out.

This harsh reality has immediate repercussions for how marketers, from small business to large agencies, might leverage their understanding of Google’s inventory for search and business in general. Many posts will be written over the coming weeks illustrating just how lame the tool has become for serious research.  The lack of detail in output is mind-numbing. Choose any query to test and it becomes readily apparent that there’s a lot less beef in the hamburger.

“Facebook” Must Not Be “Commercial” Then
Check out the keyword tool in action below. Google represents the output includes “all keyword ideas, including “adult ideas” and everywhere in the world. Could it be true? Do Google users really only articulate 12 semantic permutations of “Facebook” at phrase, broad and exact match? Eeesh… Obviously that’s a laughable proposition. These 12 keywords are what Google wants to sell as they productize Facebook related queries into AdWords inventory.

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facebook-keywords

Reality Check
Trellians Keyword Discovery’s global premium database suggests nearly 2,000 keywords at phrase match, over 10 pages of output. Even keeping in mind that Trellian is working with a  smaller sampling, it’s clear that our friends at Google have cut us off.

trellian-results

Not For SEO Any More?
For the better part of two decades, marketers have used paid inventory tools like Overture, Panama and Google KW tools to gain insight as to search engines’ inventory.  Many of us thought these insightful oracles would never go away.  After all, the engines need to show us their inventory in order to sell us clicks, right?


Retired Overture Keyword Tool

Paid inventory keyword tools have always been the easiest and most direct method to learn what users search for, those optimizing pages for organic search, used the data to define SEO. This is no longer possible with the AdWords tool, straight out of the box.  Incredibly, Google has found a way to circumvent needing to reveal its inventory in specificity, even to those parties interesting in purchasing AdWords search PPC.  This author never thought we would see the day where such inventory is not available.

Does this mean that big G’s KW tool is no longer reliable for SEO? We think yes. Though some might say that practitioners should now make a point of optimizing for people-herding suggest terms, there will be huge organic competition for these words. It is likely that this new short tail may be unattainable organically for all but the most authoritative and powerful sites.

This serves double duty for Google in that that many advertisers will be forced to buy more AdWords. This rush to purchase the limited “suggest” inventory may drive the cost up even further.   For Google it’s a win, win, win and then win some more.

Not Good for Much of Anything
Savvy marketers have also used search engine paid inventory data for many on and offline purposes. For instance owners advise print ads on how people search. Companies and products are named based on keyword research.  Universities design curriculum based on the subtleties of what students search for.  Detroit uses keyword research to name alert lights in dashboards in the manufacturing design process.

The revolution of search has traditionally been centered on our ability to discover how humans search, the words they use, in what order, the frequency thereof and other subtle semantic permutations.  Unless we want to subscribe (in resignation) to Google’s dumb-ass shortening of the known language universe, this tool borders on useless.  No more will Google’s sampling of human queries be easily available just for the asking.

Dumbing Down Users & Content
Regardless of one’s philosophy of creating content, it might be hard to find an SEO who would suggest that only having access to the brain-dead commercial short tail is a sufficient enough a dataset to advise content creation.  Remember the task is to write content both compelling to humans and diverse enough for optimization.

suggest

The suggest feature in Google’s search box, has herded searchers to Google’s prescribed short tail now for a couple of years.  Though this data can be highly personalized based known and black box variables, the suggestions roughly correlate in their obvious banality, to the queerly useless results in the KW tool.  It is a sad world when organization of the planet’s content is thinned for maximum profit.

There are other places to cull the long tail. This much is true. aimClear is switching to Yahoo and Bing’s combined inventory today.  [Author’s note: Trellian, WordStream & WordTracker must be jumping up and down today going “yippee!”] Long live SEO. Here are a few analytic processes and tools, of many, to mine the mid and long tails.

Buy the Data From Google
It’s possible to purchase insight into Google’s mid and long tail inventory.

  • Run Google PPC, at modified broad match,  for the keyword tools’ output, in single keyword AdGroups
  • Overbid, and only run the keywords just long enough to cull a large enough sampling.
  • Take note of inbound paid queries using analytics.  Many of these keywords won’t be revealed in the KW tool.
  • Run a query report. The query report has never been fully transparent, in that not all queries are revealed. It is reasonable to think that Google will dumb this report down even further, since it’s a leak of inventory information.
  • It’s important to note that there is no search frequency metric attached to organic analytics. This method gets us the keywords, but not the relative important of the KW, ability to sort by monthly searches, etc…

google-analytics

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Microsoft AdLabs
Microsoft has a real opportunity here. Since Yahoo rolled search into Bing, the sampling is much larger.


adlabs

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WordStream
WordStream may have just become became more important. The methodology and toolset for mining keywords is an interesting approach that many.
wordstream

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Trellian
Trellian Keyword Discovery is a classic alternative tool, with various databases.  Many swear by the data.
trellian-header

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WordTracker
WordTracker is a cool and campy keyword tool. Mined from meta search engine Dogpile and other sources, WordTracker yields quirky and powerful results from a relatively small sampling.
wordtracker

Creative Commons License photo credit: wikioticsIan

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59 Comments

  1. Foot In Mouth - Jeremy Rivera on October 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Marty you’re a lifesaver! Me and my team have been scratching our heads since Google “Updated”/Raped the existing Adwords keyword external tool. It became painfully obvious that there was a HUGE discrepancy in the values compared to previous numbers from the older tool. Simply frustrating, and infuriating!

    Thanks for the suggested alternatives, We’ll have to try them on for size and see what shakes out of the tree.

  2. Trace Johnson on October 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    This was a brilliant post.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the point that the herding of traffic through Google’s suggest feature is a bad thing. The keyword tool being streamlined into “commercial’ phrases hurts new/niche industries, but it is the first run at Google Suggest being wholly integrated into the search experience. For mobile it is invaluable. For 95% of users it simplified the search experience.

    Long tail strategies are the guerrilla campaigns of Paid Search Marketing. They are high overhead in resources. They just became harder to execute.

    Google’s motivation is to keep up with their ever increasing demand to index exponentially increasing amounts of data. The more they can push back on having to live index every variation on phrases and keywords, the lower their server overhead. Also, this is their bread and butter. There is a reason they are keeping it under lock and key.

    Google is getting scared, and they should be. Bing/Yahoo is picking up. Semantic language processing is evolving and being leveraged by large companies and institutions. Case in point: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-10/predictive-search-engine-reveals-some-analytical-tricks-behind-its-crystal-ball

    Search engine marketing/optimization experts have always been trying to understand the algorithms behind how content is indexed. It is going to be an opaque industry for the foreseeable future.

    Now it is just the time where the SEM community needs to band together again and say, “Game On” Google.

  3. Gail Gardner on October 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I second Marty’s recommendation of both WordTracker and Wordstream. They have been the tools of choice for serious keyword research for many years and offer far more detailed results than AdWords.

    When conversion tracking and then Google Analytics were first offered I warned clients that using them would reveal what keyword phrases were critical to sales and in the long run prove detrimental to business success. Unfortunately, even businesses wise enough to not trade that data for free analtyics have to contend with their competitors giving access to data that is likely to be very similar to their own.

  4. Lauren Litwinka on October 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Hi all, Lauren here [aimClearBlog publication manager] – Marty is with clients ATM but I’m positive he will enjoy engaging in this conversation later this evening :) Thanks for taking time to leave your comments.

  5. Ruffy Heredia on October 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    This is a great post. I’ve been doing SEO for just a few months now, but the developments come in waves. While we can agree that Google is taking monopoly(almost, but already quite there), it’s nice to know that different other SE’s are on the move.

    Let’s all hope the SEO field will get something good out of this in the long run. Long live SEO!

  6. seo services on October 8, 2010 at 12:25 am

    An awesome post……..SEO is the best option
    obviously nobody has the time to wait and start their Business without proper knowledge………but with SEO, Is there any effect on the transparency of internet marketing………???????

  7. Skyler on October 8, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Google has officially screwed SEO and driven PPC costs up. I surprised they would do this because of the amount of users of the KW tool. It will only fuel the need to want to go to bing and Yahoo. Another thought. If they were smart theyt would build a SEO tool providing all the data.

  8. maurice on October 8, 2010 at 3:55 am

    how is “facebook login” ever a “commercial” term? unless your of course looking to buy hacked accounts which is of course *cough* illegal.

  9. Greg Mitchell on October 8, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I’ve always been amazed the tool was available anyway so I suppose this had to happen at some point. Congrats on what will probably be the most retweeted blog post of the year.

  10. mark rushworth on October 8, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Thanks for confirming this. Since the closure of SKTool ive noticed the keyword samplings were far too niche. Gues si should try out some of these other tools now :/

  11. Marty Weintraub on October 8, 2010 at 6:12 am

    @Jeremy Rivera: First, apologies for taking so long to respond. The ol’ speaking tour is kicking my btt just a little :). At first we we tried to be in denial about it. Then we realized the the KW tool had undergone radical changes, far more intense then a UI change. The change how the data set is filtered, turning semantic gold into straw. Over the years we’ve joked that Google would prefer to sell AdWords where advertisers did not even choose keywords themselves. Eeesh, we’re half way there. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  12. Marty Weintraub on October 8, 2010 at 6:21 am

    @ Trace Johnson Thanks for the kind words. You write about Google’s motivation and keeping it under lock and key. When I first saw your comment, for which we are grateful, I thought maybe you were Google’s spin team coming to comment. :)

    You wrote, “For 95% of users it simplified the search experience:” Where does the 95% stat come from? Please explain. I agree that simplified keyword sets for mobile users is important. Are mobile users 95% of searchers? Google KW tools provides the only insight as to inventory that exists and the want control.

    So far as server overhead goes, I don’t buy it. We live in a futuristic super-computing world. Was Google beginning to lag or buckle under the load? Do projections indicate that a crises in overhead is on the horizon lest Google fix things or face delays or angry users? This is about revenue, control and consolidation of valuable of assets. Google owns this data and is limiting our access to inventory for other uses-because they can and it will result in more profit. Sadly it will line up with what users need, after Google teaches users to be more shallow.

  13. Marty Weintraub on October 8, 2010 at 6:24 am

    @Skyler: Yeah, we’d like to see the Ad Preview Tool, offer suggest data per geo. Google wants us to optimize things, just so long as they’re not to optimized and we have to spend more cash to figure out the inventory. It makes sense. It’s infuriating.

  14. Marty Weintraub on October 8, 2010 at 6:25 am

    @maurice: How about if you’re looking for an understanding of which FB games are popular, what FB related subjects are valuable terms for optimizing a site about social media sites? Look at the Trellian data and there’s your answer. Thanks for the comment and welcome.

  15. Marty Weintraub on October 8, 2010 at 6:27 am

    @ Greg Mitchell: Yeah, somehow I thought it was out birthright. :). LOL, not to worry, we’ll get the data. Yep, we’ll get the data. Ironically this will separate “real” data-driven marketers from the hacks. Maybe that’s what Google is after.

  16. Sasikumar R on October 10, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Marty, have you tried signing into your Google account and then using the tool? Try it for the word “facebook” in your example. Google returned me 715 results instead of 12.

    Obviously, they are revealing much more to their advertisers.

  17. Marty Weintraub on October 10, 2010 at 9:01 am

    @Sasikumar R: LOL, of course we were logged in. In fact I just logged in again, accessed the tool, and got fewer KWs. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Sasikumar R on October 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Marty, check out a screen shot of the result I get here:

    http://www.4shared.com/photo/RGxP1FR3/screenshot17.html

    (Hover your mouse over the image and click on the 4 arrows at bottom right of it to expand the pic to actual size. Notice 715 results. I have reduced the no of rows displayed to just 10 so I could fit the whole page in the shot)

    My location becomes India by default once I sign in to my Google account. However, if I choose US it show very few results as you say.

    Strange are the ways of Google.

  19. Marty Weintraub on October 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

    @Sasikumar R: Yep, that’s what I was thinking as well. Made a note to access to tool via India IP on Monday and test. We suggest you mine whatever data you want now, as who knows how long you’ll see the unfiltered inventory. Thanks so much for clarifying Sasikumar and it’s great to be having this conversation with you this morning. Marty

  20. Sasikumar R on October 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    You’re welcome Marty :)

  21. ltk on October 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    G hates organic SEO-ers…the little guy, the people that have been making them money from adsense from day one…the grass roots IMers. Thanks, G. Do No Evil, right? I guess it’s all about money (..so you can fund your self-driving car…). Good job helping the big guys that can rank for the 1 and 2 word phrases and even partial words and letters now with Instant…LOL. Oh, and your welcome, G, for all the webmasters’ data from G analytics all these years…which I’m sure has been used to make your new awesome Gtool…

    Hello, again, Wordtracker…

  22. Dennis Fashion on October 11, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Hi Marty and Sasikumar,

    I work in Germany but run the UK and US search accounts. I have heaps of “Facebook” results when searching from germany or the UK (in the advanced options for the tool) but only 2 for the US.

    Perhaps Google is only restricting some results for some keywords in some locations. It does seem strange to me that the UK results have 800 results while the US has 2.

    Regardless, thank you Marty for the excellent article.

    Dennis

  23. Alastaire Allday on October 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for this absolutely indispensable blog post.

    At the moment, I’m advising my customers that the best ‘back door route’ into PPC advertising is to use Google Analytics to find any long tail search terms that reveal users who visit a disproportionately high number of pages or spend extra long looking at the site. These are the clicks most likely to convert. I then recommend customers see where they are for organic search with shortened forms of these key phrases and buy PPC advertising accordingly. This is also the strategy I use for PPC for my own site.

    It’s an old strategy, but it works — and with enough data on long tail keywords and organic placement coming from Analytics and Google’s webmaster tools, pretty much cuts out the need for the AdWords keyword tool.

  24. Pavlicko on October 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Congrats to Google for being sneaky ass bastards.

    As Gail mentioned, it’s pretty hard NOT to think that Goog is sifting our analytics data for the money making terms – and here I thought sharing my data, adding goal values and setting up conversion tracking in adwords was a Good thing. Boy, I was wrrrrong, apparently.

    I think the execs at Google must be spending THEIR 20% freetime thinking of ways to kick us marketers in the crotch.

  25. Marty Weintraub on October 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @ltk One could make a case that Google does not like SEOs. Also it’s clear that G’ wants optimized PPC accounts but not “that” optimized.”

    @Alastaire Allday: Right, as mentioned, we run lists from Google Suggest (on page as well) + analytics + WordTracker + Trellian at modified broad match and have a look in analytics. There will be tons of blog posts about it coming up from many sources I would think, including aimClear.

    @Pavlicko: Yep, wheeled that Trodden Horse right up the worlds Web SNOOT. Nothing is for free my friend…nothing.

  26. John Allen on October 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    My biggest issues with the new interface are in two areas.
    1) I was previously able to filter out specific terms. While the new interface takes a stab at this, I found that typing in a list of “don’t include phrases” gave me a much better list to work from.
    2) The previous interface would search URL and put phrases into buckets. The new tool will search a URL, but the bucketing seems to be gone.

    Google, if the need exists, update the old interface to make the data more reliable, but don’t remove it entirely.

  27. ltk on October 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    @Marty Forgot to say nice post. I’m a first time reader. I’m not a “advertising agency, in-house [or] PR professional,” but this article is definitely relevant to all int the organic + PPC game. Thanks.

  28. Marty Weintraub on October 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    @ltk: You’re very welcome here. Tons of folks who don’t fit the designation hang at aimClear Blog. Maybe it’s time to change the blog description :).

  29. David on October 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Marty,

    I have run queries on Google’s Keyword Tool. I have queried for ‘facebook’, and indeed for the US only two results are returned. I have run a query for the UK and get 800 results as a previous commenter has highlighted.

    I queried the term ‘sell my house’ for both the US and UK, both of which returned 800 results. I may be missing something here, I am new to SEO, but this does not seem to agree with the point you are making. Surely all keyword queries would be severely curtailed in the US if what you are saying is correct.

    David.

  30. Marty Weintraub on October 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    @David: I just logged in to AdWords and ran “Sell My House.” I got the same results as you. THEN I ran the KW “Ford.” I got 8 results at broad match. Do you think that the KW “Ford” only has 8 permutations that users search for with frequency that is statistically relevant? Maybe Google is cleaning inventory a bit at a time. Maybe the thing is buggy as hell. Either way…eeesh.

    At #SMX, Google’s KW tool product manager said openly that the KW tool now only shows KWs that Google deems are “commercial.” Only Google can explain why a particular query yields certain results. Maybe there’s 3K permutations of “sell my house” and only 800 are showing. Who knows. Tell me this. Do you trust the results? We don’t. :). Thanks for helping out and sharing the queries and testing various scenarios. It is much appreciated.

  31. AdWords Consultant N.Ireland on October 12, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I was pretty gutted when Google no longer let me switch to the previous Keyword Tool Interface. I never liked the new one. Now I’m stuck with it and get restricted results. I’m gonna have to try these other tools now. Thanks for the article. It’s a helpful insight.

  32. Tony Nguyen on October 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    As always…you’re very insightful. I wonder if you can buy the keywords through their API?

  33. Amanda on October 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I too agree the new keyword tool is pretty much useless. Totally a ploy by Google to make more money from advertisers. Disappointing, frustrating and makes my job way more difficult. Argh!!! Anyway, one more reason we should all work to reduce our dependence on Google’s “free” tools and services. Ends up costing you in the end…

    Thanks much for the alternative recommendations. I’ve used Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery before. However, the old G kw tool was way better for general keyword research and that has been my primary tool for years. I’ve been digging into Wordstream since G took my tool away. I’m hoping that will prove to be decent. Has anybody used SEM rush? I thought about giving that a try too.

  34. Rebecca Gill on October 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I virtually cried when the old tool was taken away and have hated the new keyword search tool with a passion. I thought I was being difficult, inflexible, and that I was just not being open minded. Obviously what I suspected was the case, is the actual case and while I am disappointed, I am happy I’m not losing my SEO mind.

    The new keyword tool offers limited any many times completely irrelevant suggestions. It is painful to say the least. I have always voiced my love for Google and it’s work to improve the world of search, but this time, I have to admit screwed up and screwed up BIG!

    Great post Marty!

  35. Marty Weintraub on October 13, 2010 at 7:07 am

    @Rebecca Gill: So sad. Exploring Bing’s tools more deeply now, amongst other solutions. Perhaps Google will roll back the change. Thanks very much for stopping by to voice your feelings.

  36. Sean Elkin on October 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I too have always reverted to the old interface of the Google KW tool. I use their tool and Trellian’s for our search engine marketing audits.

    This is a huge kick in the face from Google. I generally have included Trellian’s data as an alternate, “don’t really trust Google 100% and Bing/Yahoo do matter somewhat” set of comparison numbers. For Google to essentially turn off the ability to do long and mid tail research is mind-boggling to me. Think of all of those long-tail phrases that were generating revenue for google, based on the tool and some other sources and used by PPC advertisers by virtue of them appearing in the KW tool results (with some real data).

    What now for new clients without their own substantive set of data? We’re going to buy one click a day for the top 5 kw for which everyone competes? Start collecting our own data over time and make some sense of it? Guess and test? Bing/Yahoo… here we come.

  37. Kyle Deming on October 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Initially I thought this was simply a problem with the new interface, but thank you for pointing out how inaccurate and useless the provided data is from an SEO perspective. Will be investigating other solutions – if nothing else perhaps Google helped out the paid keyword research providers! Seems to me it would be irresponsible to keep using this tool to do research for clients.

    Very disappointing.

  38. Hessam on October 25, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I get around 800 results for the same search (“facebook”: All countries, English, Include adult ideas) so perhaps you are jumping into conclusions too fast?!

  39. DPWeb on October 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Wow, I was wondering what happened with the tool. I search the keywords through many markets to help clients create content that will generate viewers. I noticed some keywords seemed to be just drying up or disappearing. I am somewhat new to this type of market research and though I was simply watching the market changes. I thought to myself, these markets are changing way faster than I expected. Upon finding this article I have realized I need to broaden my search horizons.

  40. Tao on October 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I too am seeing lots of results for Facebook now.

    Although – you need to take alternative sources such as Wordtracker seriously and cannot just rely on Big G alone any more.
    Who knows how skewed their data is. Running a quick Adwords campaign to gage the traffic will tell you the truth.

  41. James Petty on November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Marty great post! I was just discussing with a colleague earlier today how the new google keyword tool is pretty much useless for determining what people are really searching for. We are exploring alternatives and I appreciate you pointing out some like Trellian. As an SEO having reliable keyword data is crucial to the start of a campaign when determining an overall strategy.

  42. Chazman on November 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I had never even DREAMED of using Bing for keyword research or PPC — Google was the 800-pound gorilla, and everybody knew it.

    G’s simple purpose now is to get everyone bidding (much) higher on (far) fewer keywords, with no recourse. Good for them, bad for their customers. Maybe they’re so big they just don’t need customers any more . . .

    Or maybe they’re tired of dealing with all of us rag-tag riff-raff and prefer to work with suits at giant conglomerates with multi-zillion dollar budgets.

    Suddenly, I’m using Bing ?!?! Thanks, Google, for helping me break my old habits and opening my eyes to new opportunities.

    I haven’t seen a marketing stunt this stupid since the mid-1980′s when Coca-Cola stopped selling Coca-Cola.

  43. Marty Weintraub on November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    @James Petty: We’re glad the post resonated. This is pretty disappointing. I’m sure there will be a spate of new tools and techniques our there. @Chazman: Yep, I remember the whole Coke fiasco. Thanks for drawing the analogy and for stopping by. Will we see either of you at PubCon?

  44. Jeff Maslan on November 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Has anyone thought about the reduction of long tail keyword in the tool being related to the new Google Instant Search? Google might be doing us a favor since most long tail searches will never be completed. That being said – I’ve started using Bing and Trellian.

  45. Chazman on November 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

    @Jeff Maslan — I agree. Long-tail KW user searches in Google are now a thing of the past (except for the extremely limited auto-defaults Google offers to searchers). So, fewer keywords in actual use. <>

    Corporations will garner all the prime KW’s, and the rest of us will fight (at much greater cost) over the scraps.

    Bottom line? Google’s users (read: humanity) are the losers, while Google’s income climbs steadily. From a pure business standpoint, can you blame them? Google’s only loss is their small-time advertisers.

    I recall a TV ad in the mid-70′s. A giant, muscular genie appeared in a flash of smoke and told a distraught housewife surrounded by piles of laundry that “new All-Temp-A-Cheer would handle all her laundry needs; cold water, hot water, colors, whites,” etc. Her reply was, “That’s wonderful. **Now I don’t have to think any more!**” Welcome, users, to the new Google. You won’t have to think any more, as Google takes care of that unpleasant task for you.

  46. Kyle Deming on November 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    @Jeff and @Chazman

    Are you sure this is the correct interpretation? The studies I’ve seen have shown virtually no impact of Google Instant on query length.

    http://blog.conductor.com/2010/11/a-month-later-instant-is-having-no-impact-on-searcher-behavior/

  47. Marty Weintraub on November 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    @Chazman: Yep, I never thought that a mainstream search engine could ever take away our ability to see inventory. “Google’s users (read: humanity) are the losers:” Well, I know this, nothing good can come out of dumbing down human vocabulary. Thanks for stopping by and the thoughtful comment.

  48. Marty Weintraub on November 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Jeff Maslan: I sure makes keyword research a more laborious endeavor.

  49. Sasikumar R on November 10, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I got back 754 results for “facebook” and 639 results for “ford” for US location today. So looks like everything’s back to normal again.

    The new tool also returns a substantially higher number of (up to 800) compared to just 200 by the old one. I am told that the traffic stats are also far more accurate and reliable now compared to their retired tool.

    The problem we had earlier might have been caused by the transition.

  50. Marty Weintraub on November 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

    @Sasikumar R: The change has not taken place everywhere in the world. Trust me, it’s not normal :).

  51. Yizzy on November 13, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Yep, Marty. The change has definitely not taken place. I’ve been trying to run the Google Keywords tools for a specific consumer “service” I want to advertise, and the results I am get are: “service” in arizona, “service” in baltimore, “service” in new york, etc, etc, etc. So helpful, not!

    I had done this same search back in August and I inadvertently deleted the results before I finished with them. Now I am kicking myself. It had hundreds of great keywords. All gone! The current search doesn’t resemble the old one in any way, shape or form. I guess I will be reactivating my WordTracker account tomorrow.

  52. Marty Weintraub on November 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    @Yizzy: Yep, Welcome the the age of “suggestion box keyword research.”

  53. Sasikumar R on November 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Yizzy, log into your Adword account and try the same search

    Google returns only 1200 results if you don’t. If you do, it returns 100.

  54. Sasikumar R on November 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Yizzy, sorry that was a typo in my previous post. Please read as:

    Log into your Adwords account and try the same search.

    Google returns only 100 results if you aren’t signed in to your Adwords account. If you do, it should return up to 800 results for you.

  55. Yizzy on November 15, 2010 at 11:42 am

    @Sasikumar R: I’ve tried it logged in. The first several times I only got an error message. When it finally went through, the results were no better. Even if it had returned a few more words, it wouldn’t matter because the quality of them is so poor. The new adwords tool is returning approximately 90% geographic based results in my specific search. The old tool was less than 1% geographic based. The old tool returned great phases and lots of misspellings (which are a gold mine for me). Apparently those are a thing of the past.

    Wanting to be fair, I set up a test campaign this weekend. I had 7 existing campaigns with results from my specific “Keyword” that I set up using the old keyword tool (from searches that I did in April and August). I set up an 8th campaign with the result from the exact same “keyword” searched last Friday.

    The results? The new campaign with new keyword tool search came in dead last. I got 163 click-throughs between the 7 existing campaigns and just 2 on the new campaign. A big problem was low impressions. This was because google was charging a premium for all the new keywords it suggested to me. It seems they are designed to help googles bottom line much more than mine.

    I’m sorry, but no amount of spin can convince me this new keywords tool is a good thing.

  56. Tabby on December 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Wow, what terrible adwords changes. It’s unfortunate and seems a poor move to be honest. I use it frequently to fine tune better key word phrases for postings.

  57. Lana on January 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    The adwords keyword tool just took a huge dive today. It won’t give results that I obtained two days ago. Sad.

  58. Anne on January 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Same problem here, the data from the Adwords Keyword Tool changes every day it seems. Anyone know what happend and if it’s just tempory?

  59. seo yaptır on June 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    he he Welcome the the age of “suggestion box keyword research

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