Google has officially retired the External Keyword Tool and replaced it with a new Keyword Planner. This switch was made in an effort to combine the Keyword Tool and the Traffic Estimator that Google used to offer. Just as it is true with most re-branding efforts, this change has been met with mixed reviews.
Supporters of the change love the new filters and ad ideas. Still, others are faithful to the old tool, some going so far as to call the new Keyword Planner a mistake. Now that the change has been made and the dust has settled a bit, we can see that the Keyword Planner is a big change from the Keyword Tool, but not all the changes are bad.
Today we’re going to take a deeper look at the Keyword Planner: What changes were made, and what advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you begin using the new Keyword Planner.
Keyword Tool vs. Keyword Planner: What has Changed
The most obvious difference between the External Keyword Tool and the Keyword Planner is that you need to have a Google AdWords account and be logged in to use the new Keyword Planner. The good news is that you don’t have to set a payment type or post any ads, you just have to add an AdWords account to your Google profile. Since the switch from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner was made in an attempt to create more adwords users it makes good business sense for Google to do this, but having to log in every time you want to use the Planner is an extra step that feels like wasted time.
Another big change you may notice is that the numbers returned for each inquiry differ greatly from the Keyword Tool to the Keyword Planner. Google has explained this difference by saying that the old tool showed statistics from laptops and desktop computers by default, whereas the Keyword planner includes data from all types of devices.
Other noticeable changes include:
- There are no longer separate columns for local and global searches. Instead, there is one column titled “Average Monthly Search”.
- The “Search Share” and “Extracted from Webpage” options have been removed.
- “Approximate CPC” has been replaced by “Average CPC”.
- There is no longer a column for “Search Local Trends”, but this information can still be accessed by hovering over the Average Monthly Searches icon.
- The options for “Broad Match” and “Phrase Match” have been removed. All data is now returned as “Exact Match”.
- There are new filter categories added to help narrow search results.
Advantages of the Keyword Planner
The major advantage that has been added to the Keyword Planner is the ability to search by city or region. This function is perfect for small businesses that want information on how to target their local area. Google has also added the ability to upload large lists of words to compare performance data.
Another new feature that has been added is the ad group ideas page. This feature groups keywords into individual categories, making it easier to find the specific keywords that apply to your business. Admittedly, there is some dispute as to whether this is an advantage or not. Many people skip the ad group ideas feature in favour of the keyword ideas feature. The feature is listed as an advantage here because of the versatility it offers.
The last advantage to the Keyword Planner that will be mentioned here is the new Include/Exclude filter. This feature enables you to add or delete terms from search results in order to gather more tightly focused search results. This is especially helpful for eliminating competitors names, brand names, and broad terms that may not be applicable to your search.
Disadvantages of the Keyword Planner
There are also some notable disadvantages when comparing the Keyword Planner to the Keyword Tool. The new system initially eliminated the ability to search for closely related terms, however this has since been added to the tool due to heavy demand from users. They have also chosen not to include an option to target specific devices in your keyword search. Instead, all terms are returned for laptops, desktop computers, phones and tablets.
Finally, the biggest disadvantage of the new Keyword Planner is the fact that it is so narrowly focused for Google AdWords users that many of the other filters and options that have been added are virtually useless for SEO and SEM data gathering. Not only do users have to log into the page before using the tool, but all of the extra filters can create needless confusion for people who are just trying to gather a small amount of keyword data.
Regardless of the changes that have been made to the keyword search functions, Google remains the largest search engine in the world, and is the best source for keyword data. If you are willing to explore the new settings and change the nature of your queries you will be able to get the same helpful information as before.
In order to continue providing the most accurate and informed SEO services possible, Keyword Intent has made the changes necessary to support the Keyword Planner within their Keyword Strategy Processes and keyword management tools.