Google rolled out its new Keyword Planner in earnest last week after a three-month transition period, and let’s just say the newest “upgrade” in the SEM/SEO world has been met with less-than-stellar reviews. As Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land and Chris Crum at Web Pro News report, people have taken to twitter to voice their displeasures.
So what’s all this fuss about? Let’s take a look at the new tool’s pros and cons:
The biggest issue here is the lack of granularity around search volumes by match type. With the now extinct Keyword Tool, this was a simple 1-step process executed by including match type operators (“…” for phrase, […] for exact). The new methodology required for equivalent results is a round-about, 4-step process. Here’s how you’d do it:
Step 1: Enter the desired keywords and appropriate match types into the 2nd option within the Keyword Planner (“Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform”)
Step 2: Enter excessively high bid estimates and daily budget levels to max-out impression estimates
Step 3: Click on your “ad group” to view performance data by keyword and match type
Step 4: Multiply Impression data by 30 to get approximate monthly search volumes (note no overlap between match types)
While the ~234k monthly search volume for “big data” phrase-match seems in the same ballpark as the old tool, getting to this figure took 5 minutes compared to 5 seconds.
What’s hard to understand is Google’s stance on the new tool – that it “simplifies” things – as noted in the product’s press release:
“…In the past, you may have relied on tools like the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to identify new keywords and ad groups, get traffic estimates, and choose competitive bids and budgets. Over time however, we’ve heard from you that having two tools for search campaign building was cumbersome.
We’re constantly working to simplify the process of building campaigns, and today we’re happy to announce the launch of a new tool, Keyword Planner, which combines the functionality of the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator into a smooth, integrated workflow.”
It’s safe to say that the jury’s still out on whether the new Keyword Planner actually proves to be an “upgrade”, or whether it’s just another tweak to the AdWords ecosystem that seemingly strips away even more functionality (see Enhanced campaigns) that we once took for granted.