No news to anyone (I guess) the Keyword Planner is the new tool from Google that has replaced both the AdWords Keyword Research and Traffic Estimator tools, and generated a lot of drama in the SEO world.
Although according to the official Google announcement this tool is designed to make it easier for marketers to plan search campaigns, not all SEOs agree.
And the concern many SEOs express about this change makes perfect sense if you recall that the AdWords Keyword Tool has been for years the most reliable and steady tool for any organic keyword research.
But since this topic has been extensively debated these past few months, I will cut it short.
Here is a brief run through what is new, what will be missed and what should you do from now on to get the same outcome as you did with the old tool in matters of keyword research for organic optimization.
If you are still struggling with the new Planner, this should get you back on track fast.
Brief summary of changes
- Authenticated use only – AdWords Login is now required in order to use the tool. However, creating an AdWords account is free and fast so this shouldn’t be an issue, unless you are concerned about the data Google tracks and associates with your account. But that would be a whole new discussion. However, if this is truly an issue for you, you can simply create a new Google account and dedicate it to keyword research 😉
- Still FREE – You do not need to have ads running in order to use the Planner and get keyword ideas, so for now, it is still free for keyword research.
- Same number of keyword ideas – For every research query you make, you will get up to 800 keyword ideas (the Keyword ideas tab). However, if you also collect and download all the suggested ad group ideas (the Ad group ideas tab), you will get slightly more than 800 keyword ideas.
- Exact match type only – You don’t have anymore the ability to choose the match type used for keyword ideas. The Keyword Planner shows keyword suggestions and historical statistics (Avg. monthly searches) only for exact match. The only match type selection available affects just the click and cost estimates.
- All devices only – For the moment, the research data you get targets all devices and you are not able to select the device you wish to get estimates for (desktop and laptops, mobile, tablets). That should be the main reason for which you might see now bigger search estimates for your terms than with the old Keyword Tool.
- Location down to city level – More than just per country as the old tool allowed you to, now you are able to narrow your keyword research down to city level.
- New metrics – The new Planner comes with quite a few metric changes but of particular interest for the keyword research routine are the Avg. monthly searches and Avg. CPC. The first one, Average monthly searches, replaces the two old metrics – Local monthly searches and Global monthly searches. This new metric shows average search estimations for the location you specified, or global estimations, if All locations is selected. The second metric, Average CPC replaces the old Approx. CPC (Search) and should provide more accurate CPC information.
Basic Keyword research workflow in Keyword Planner
Here is the step-by-step keyword research process with the new Planner:
- Go to Keyword Planner and log in. If you haven’t created your AdWords account yet, you need to do that first.
- Select the first option – Search for keyword and ad group ideas
- Just as before, you are able to research new ideas related to a term you type in, to a website, or a category.
Make sure to also check the other search customization options available at this step. However, if you are not yet sure about the settings that would best fit your needs, you can leave that decision for later as all these options will still be available in the next step and you will be able to filter your list of keywords on-spot.
- There are two types of suggestions, stored under two tabs: Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas.
You can bulk download each of the two lists:
Or you can review the lists and make a selection. The keyword selection process has been changed, now being able to collect the keywords into a Plan (at the left) that would be similar to a shopping cart. You can add or remove the selected keywords to your Plan, refine and download it.
- That’s it!
To get new ideas, you can modify the current search or start a new keyword research session from scratch.
Keyword Planner integrated in Advanced Web Ranking
With regard to AWR users, the keyword research tool of Advanced Web Ranking will continue to work just like before since the new Keyword Planner has been integrated in AWR. The keyword research workflow remains the same with only a few, minor changes that have been made to the keyword research process.
This article covers only the essential changes that have been made to the organic keyword research routine as performed with the new Planner. For all the important things I’m sure I’ve missed, feel free to join in and share your tips. I look forward to your thoughts.