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Bidding farewell to the Google Keyword Tool

Ellie Gunville
by Ellie Gunville on Aug 8, 2013 1:42:00 PM

Whether performing key phrase research or estimating click costs, at E-Power Marketing we use the Google Keyword Tool daily. We were all taken by surprise a couple of months ago when we saw the below message displayed at the top of the screen.


In late May, Google announced the launch of the Keyword Planner, a tool that combines the Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to provide new key phrase ideas, cost per click estimates, search volumes and much more. With the launch of the Keyword Planner, Google announced that the Keyword Tool will be retiring. Many users are still able to access the Keyword Tool, but it is expected to completely shut down within the next couple of weeks.

How Does the Keyword Planner Differ from the Keyword Tool?

Because the Planner is designed to make it simple for advertisers to expand their AdWords programs, Google isn't making the Planner easy to access for non-AdWords users. Unlike the Keyword Tool, the Keyword Planner requires you to log in through an AdWords account. This means that SEOs and other non-AdWords users will need to create Google AdWords accounts in order to access the tool and perform key phrase research.

One of the most significant differences between the Tool and the Planner is the difference in search frequency numbers. With the Keyword Tool, Google reports frequencies for broad match key phrases by default. With the Keyword Planner, search frequency is calculated only for exact match key phrases, resulting in much lower numbers.

In addition to the match type switch, the devices included in the search frequency numbers for the Planner differ from the Tool. The Keyword Planner provides the average number of searches for a key phrase on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices; whereas, the Keyword Tool, by default, provides search volumes for desktops and laptops only.

Issues with the Keyword Planner

Since we've started using the Keyword Planner, we've noticed some very suspicious numbers that have made us question the reliability of the Planner. In the research below, the Keyword Planner reports that the long tail key phrase 'dynamic creative optimization' is searched 20 times more than the broad phrase 'ad optimization'. The search volumes the Keyword Planner is reporting for these key phrases seem inaccurate for one phrase or the other.


Many others have reported similar issues with the Planner. A recent post on Search Engine Roundtable reports on the problems they have experienced with the new Planner, and several of the commenters describe other issues they have encountered.

Any bugs we're currently experiencing with the tool will likely be taken care of by Google in the coming months as more users transition to the Planner. In the mean time, we'll continue to use the Planner, but with caution. Have you tried out the new Keyword Planner? Share with us your experience in the comments below!

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Ellie Gunville
Written by Ellie Gunville
As the Manager of Online Advertising at E-Power Marketing, Ellie focuses on developing targeted advertising campaigns to boost sales, increase trade show and event registrations drive leads and strengthen brand recognition. She has become an expert in all things online advertising, and expanded her focus to also include Google Analytics and conversion optimization.

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