Marketers Take Note: Changes in the New Google Keyword Tool

One of the more interesting story-lines from my trip to SMX East came from Google’s Baris Gultekin, Group Product Manager for Google AdWords, presenting an in-depth look at Google’s keyword research tools. The highlight being the recently revamped AdWords keyword tool.

We have not liked the redesigned tool since it launched; switching to the old interface regularly. It was a disappointment when Google took the old interface away for good.

Apparently we weren’t in the minority.

Bravely presenting to an audience that almost unanimously voted for bringing the old interface back, Gultekin’s acknowledgment that results from the new AdWords Keyword Tool shows keywords Google deems “commercial” sparked outrage.

Google has just explained the New Keyword Tool is ONLY about “commercial” searches.tweet via @aimclear

Google keyword tool is unlikely to show keywords that are non-commercial tweet via @jengrappone

While more comprehensive coverage and detail of this session can be found at aimClear and Maine SEO this post proposes steps internet marketers need to take as a result of this development.

  1. Don’t Rely on Google for the Long-Tail
    I wrote a post a while back on the potential value of keywords that may show “not enough data” in Google before this news came out. Developments from SMX solidify this position. Reliance on this tool as a source of actual evidence in search volume will be misleading. Marketers need to brainstorm the long-tail based on more empirical evidence and alternative solutions. In short, don’t rely on the Google Keyword Tool for long-tail keyword research when looking for specific search estimates.

  2. Dig Deeper in Keyword Referral Reports
    Your web analytics data – specifically keyword queries sending traffic to your website – becomes even more critical for SEO moving forward. Dive deeper in keyword referral reports, to terms sending a trickle of traffic on a monthly basis but possibly under-optimized on the website. Mine internal site search data for queries your visitors are using once they’re actually on your website for opportunities to enhance SEO strategy as well.

  3. Leverage the PPC Search Query Report
    For marketers integrating PPC and SEO strategy, take advantage of the search query report. This report can be found in the “Campaign” –> “Keywords” –> “See search terms” section of Google AdWords (support link). While not all keyword queries will be displayed, the data provides a start. Compare and evaluate keyword information for paid and organic search engine queries in the keyword referral report as well

  4. Consider Commercial Alternatives
    Marty Weintraub’s post provides tools we’ll echo here. The folks at WordStream, Trellian, and WordTracker must be overjoyed with this news. For more unbiased and non-commercial keyword research, these types of tools are once again worth investigating. We’ve had varying degrees of success with all three.

What Next? Move From Google?
Not so fast (perhaps unfortunately). There’s still commercial keyword inventory being displayed and Gultekin noted some key points of interest.

  1. Search estimates are now reflective of search data on Google.com only (no longer counting partner networks)
  2. The redesign was done in part so that the infrastructure would enable better functionality and enhancements over the long-term

Gultekin also pointed out that a non-commercial version of the keyword tool might (would?) come out in the upcoming months (but could not confirm when exactly).

Some other tidbits from SMX East via Twitter:

Google’s @barisg said the Keyword Tool will be giving more un-filtered data in the near future tweet via @MartinWeinberg

Geo targeting below country & language coming soon tweet via @Andy_G_PPC

Finally, an important tweet/message I apparently missed during the session but glad I found later when reviewing the Twitter dialogue.

Cool: Send your feedback about the Google Keyword-tool to Google: kwtool-feedback@google.com tweet via @LennartMoes

“With other agencies, the tendency is to see a flurry of work initially, and then communication and accountability starts to fall off. Our KoMarketing account team is in contact with us almost daily – it’s like they’re sitting right here in our office. They’re truly an extension of our marketing team.”

Stephanie Weagle — Stephanie Weagle, VP of Marketing, Corero Network Security

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