Google Adwords Keyword Planner is probably the first tool every SEO and search marketers turns to when they think about keyword research. While Google has been incredibly helpful in providing the tool, over the years we have also seen the tool evolve and unfortunately, it is becoming less and less helpful. It has often been discussed that the data shown in Google Adwords keyword tool is kind of skewed to push advertisers to spend more.
The latest update to the keyword planner they announced a month back, took that a level further where Google clearly discriminated against advertisers with low spend, providing them with only limited data in the keyword planner. Not just that, even for other advertisers, this “limited data” update can get triggered if you hit a certain threshold of daily searches for search volume data. Thought conveniently, Google has not specified what is the threshold number. Presumably, you can be a large spender and yet end up with limited search volume data.
And to top this up, the Google post ends with, “These changes will ensure that AdWords advertisers are able to get the data they need to optimize their accounts” . Honestly, I have been doing Adwords for more than 10 years now and I have no clue, how providing limited search volume data can help better optimize a campaign, if anything it will prompt wrong estimates and mis-prioritization of keyword bids.
The main change that is happening is on the Average Search Volume column. If you are on the limited data mode on the Adwords Keyword Planner, all you will see are ranges and ranges as wide as,..
1K – 10K
100K – 1M
Organic Search / SEO is becoming more and more difficult with every passing day and there is not much option for the businesses but to put money into Paid search and now they are trying to make that difficult as well. Of course these update will also help kill some of the smaller keyword tools that were using bots to fetch data from the Adwords Keyword Planner. Thank Google, they have confirmed that the Adwords Keyword Tool API will continue to return full data.
Google Keyword Planner Alternatives
I am sure advertisers and SEOs will still continue to use the Google Adwords Keyword tool but what are the other alternatives to Google Keyword Planner for finding good quality keyword data ? I have been toying with several keyword research tools for a long time now and while some of them are more commonly used for competitor keyword research, most of them are very effective keyword research tools with loads of data that both advertisers and SEO s would love. I have listed a few tools that I personally find extremely helpful – granted they are not free but most of them offer some trial period and the nominal fee is well worth the data they provide.
One of the most well known and user friendly tool providing highly detailed keyword and competitor data for both organic / SEO as well as for Adwords. Also, the data is available for 27 different countries, which serves well for search marketers that are working with clients other than in US. You can not only find new keywords but you can actually find what keywords your competitors are using, the bid price, volume, ad copies and a host of other data. Besides the regular keyword research but it actually allows you to take a sneak pic into your competitiors Adwords account.
A very similar tool to SEMRush and does almost everything that SEMRush does but a little more expensive.
If you are looking for pure play keyword research and don’t want to pick into competitor data, this could be one of the best keyword research tools. Also, besides Google and Bing ( SEMRush and Spyfu covers both), this also provides search volume data for YouTube ( More on YouTube optimization), Amazon and App Store ( helpful for App Store Optimization). For every search they also have a “Questions” tab, which basically shows what are the questions people are asking with the same keywords. However, in this the free version ( or even the basic paid version) do not provide any volume data and only the keywords. To get the search volume data you need to get the ProBasic package that starts at $88/month ( $20 more than the SEMRush base subscription that gives you both volume as well as CPC data).