I logged into the Google Keyword Tool this morning to get the search volumes for specific keywords I’m evaluating as part of an SEO analysis project. I received a message that told me how the Keyword Tool is going away and being replaced by the Keyword Planner.
This didn’t sound like good news to me because I, like a large number of SEO analysts, had gotten used to using the Keyword Tool. I had also tried using the Keyword Planning tool before without much satisfaction. In light of the fact that the Keyword Planning tool is all that is going to be left soon, I took another look at it.
The good news is that you can get essentially the same information about search volumes as the Keyword Tool gave. You can also get suggested keywords from the Planner just like with the Tool. The same “download a spreadsheet” feature is there too, allowing export of the seeded keywords and keyword suggestions. Competition is also reported as a numeric value, just like with the Tool.
The biggest difference between the Keyword Planner and the Keyword Tool is the limitation in the data exported.
- Whereas the Tool would allow all three match types, Broad, Phrase and Exact Match to be evaluated, the Planner returns Exact Match values by default.
- Whereas the Tool would allow Global Monthly Search volumes to be exported along with Local Monthly Search volumes, the Planner only returns a single value based on a criteria that’s selected by the user, a localization parameter.
- Whereas the Tool only reported “desktop” searches, the Planner returns search volumes for mobile searches too. This results in a higher volume than the Tool.
Despite the difference in search volumes returned being impacted by mobile search engine users, this difference doesn’t impact the SEO pros ability to compare one term versus another. All terms relative volumes compared to each other remain constant in the same order of magnitude and ratio between the Tool and the Planner.
So fear not, the same useful data will be available to you when the Tool goes away; the same data shown by the Tool will be shown by the Planner, only slightly more useful.
Keyword Planner may be more useful but I don’t feel it is user friendly. I feel I have to click a million different times to find a good keyword.
Additionally, do you know if you can view the percent of competition? In Keyword Tool, you were able to hover over the competition and view the percentage. I can’t do that with Keyword Planner. It just tells me whether the competition is low, medium, or high. Am I missing something?
Are there alternatives to the keyword tool?