RIP: Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Hello: Keyword Planner

Google AdWords Keyword Planner - Image Copyright Google

It’s been a change we’ve known about for some time, but the switch has finally happened; Google AdWords Keyword Tool has been replaced by the new ‘Keyword Planner’.

After years of feedback from SEO, PPC and online marketing experts, Google agreed that having two tools to conduct campaign research was a tad ‘cumbersome’. The answer was the birth of a combined traffic and keyword toolkit on 20th May 2013. Here, we’re going to look at what’s new, what’s old and what’s innovative about this new tool.

Why is this such a significant change?

If you’ve ever used either the Google Keyword Tool or the AdWords Traffic Estimator, you’ll know the value they can add to the very starts of your campaigns. Essentially, they can help build the foundations and offer direction on/towards successful and meaningful ventures into search marketing.

Not only this, but the Keyword Tool was one of the first free tools available to anyone working within the SEO and PPC industries; helping build endless lists of valuable keywords.

For SEO, you could gather keyword suggestions and sculpt campaigns around the terms with the highest search volumes, while for PPC, you could discover new keywords to ensure your campaigns always remained ahead of your competitors’.

To put it simply, the Keyword Tool made keyword research that little bit easier – so changing it is likely to stir up feelings of mixed emotion with webmasters and marketing experts alike… not that we’re an unstable bunch.

Behold, the new Keyword Planner…

Like any change in the marketing industry, the integration of the new Keyword Planner has caused much excitement and intrigue; so let’s have a look at the new arrival.

Where do I go?

The Google Keyword Planner is accessible through this URL: http://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner, and when you head there, you’ll be met with the following screen on logging in (assuming you already have an AdWords account):

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

What are the features?

The main, overarching advantage of the Keyword Planner is that it’s now easier for advertisers to create new ad groups and ad campaigns – as well as discover new keywords, of course.

When you land on the Planner’s homepage, you’ll immediately see the three main features – and clicking on one of them will begin a new ‘wizard-like’ process in planning your campaign.

First up, you could ‘Search for Keyword and Ad Group Ideas’:

You’ll likely be aware that when planning a new campaign – whether it’s in SEO or PPC – you’ll be relying on Google to offer a useful selection of keywords for you to choose from. So, it makes perfect sense that your first stop would be here; searching for keywords and ad group ideas.

When you click through, you’ll be able to compile your new list of keywords using the following methods:

  • By Product / Service – entering a word or phrase relevant to your campaign/business.
  • By Landing Page – entering a landing page on your site will return a list of inferred keywords deemed relevant to that specific page.
  • By Product Category – selecting from one of many pre-defined categories.

This is likely to make initial keyword research much easier. But as with any tool, those who want more can get more…

If you’re planning a new PPC campaign, for example, you can be even more pedantic with your keyword filtering, by narrowing down your search based on the following criteria:

  • Average Cost per Click – include/exclude based on desired CPC.
  • Estimated (Monthly) Search Volume – include/exclude based on desired monthly search volume.
  • Keyword Competition – narrow your scope based on estimated market competition.
  • Exclude Keywords You Already Use – automatically exclude keywords already in your account to avoid duplication.
  • Filter by Keyword – include/exclude based on keywords containing specific terms.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, you reach the next stage of your research – getting estimates and reviewing your campaign plan. Simply enter a keyword bid and daily budget, set your location and other competitive factors and you’ll be presented with an overview of how your campaign could perform. There are, of course, other filters you can add; but we don’t want to spoil the surprise too much!

Not bad for a few minutes’ work…

Secondly, you could ‘Enter or Upload Keywords to see how they perform’.

If you already know your keywords, you can skip the stage we’ve just been through and upload your own list.

This is likely to be the case if you’ve got access to years’ worth of analytics data or keyword referral data, for example. So dig around to see what you can find; if you’ve got this kind of data; make good use of it!

When you reach the ‘Get Estimates’ button, you’ll have to follow the latter stages of the process we touched on above.

Finally, you could ‘Multiply Keyword Lists’.

If you’re feeling particularly creative (and, let’s face it, you should be in this industry!), you could begin your keyword planning at the ‘multiply’ stage.

Essentially, this option allows you to create a ‘melange’ of keyword lists; which could offer you some great insight into keywords you may not have previously considered.

For example, you could multiply a list of names of products with colours and adjectives to create a master list of all possible keyword combinations. In fact, you can multiply anything within a three-list remit to create your keyword list – so a little bit of creativity could go a long way here.

Once you’ve got your master list, click on the ‘Get Estimates’ button and you’ll reach the familiar stage of entering bid information.

So, there you have the three main paths to keyword research and ad development – but we all know that when something new comes along, something old has to move on…

What’s gone missing?

  • No more ‘Local Monthly’ and ‘Global Monthly’ search columns – these have been replaced with one, neater and – according to Google – ‘easier to use’ column; the ‘Average Monthly Searches’ column. This column shows the average number of times the exact term has been searched for based on the settings you have selected.
  • No more ‘Ad Share’ column – but a replacement is ‘under construction’.
  • No more ‘Search Share’ column – sadly, this won’t be returning.
  • No more ‘Search Network’ column – this has been replaced by the ‘network option’.
  • No more ‘Approximate CPC (Search)’ column – this has been replaced by the ‘Avg. CPC’ column.
  • No more ‘Local Search Trends’ column – instead, you’ll have to download historical data to access this information.
  • No more ‘Extract from Webpage’ column – again, you can download historical data to access this information.

There’s more than one path to keyword success…

Of course, the Keyword Planner isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ of keyword research – and there are other very useful tools out there to help sculpt your campaigns.

Next time you do your research; why not try one of the following:

  • Google Trends: A useful tool to see what’s trending in search results, as well as viewing keyword popularity over a set period of time.
  • Ubersuggest: Easy to use and plenty of keyword ideas.
  • Wordstream: While it’s a paid tool, Wordstream offers a free keyword tool – unlocking thousands of suggestions.
  • SEMrush: Dive deep into competitors’ ads and view comprehensive data on paid and organic keywords.

Keyword Eye: Rather than viewing a list of suggestions, Keyword Eye offers rich visualisations.

Summary

So, you’ve seen how the new Keyword Planner can be used for your SEO keyword research and your PPC campaign building, which leaves just one thing left to do… try it out.

Note: you’ll need an AdWords account and to be signed in to use the features we’ve covered here.

Many were concerned that this would turn out to be a case of ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’, but objectively speaking; the features have the potential to create a very comprehensive and essential keyword tool.

Need help with keyword research, or with setting up a PPC or SEO campaign? Banc Media have a team of search marketing experts ready to help. Get in touch today on 0845 459 0558 or arrange a call-back here.