The following blog post is provided by the courtesy of Chris Sparks. Chris is an online marketing and content strategist at iSpionage, building awareness and engagement within target markets. Connect with Chris on Google+ or on Twitter.
For better or worse, Google does not always seem to live by its “don’t be evil” motto. Case in point: Google’s recent release of the new Keyword Planner tool, which replaces the old—and arguably much beloved—Keyword Tool. (And yes, we know that the name similarities between “Keyword Tool” and “Keyword Planner” make telling them apart even more confusing.) As of August 27, Google’s Keyword Tool was officially dead and replaced by its Keyword Planner.
If you regularly used the old Keyword Tool for keyword research, you may already have noticed this change. However, if your business only occasionally uses the keyword research tool, you may be unaware of the switch or curious about how the swap will impact your keyword research.
Confused about the changes? Wondering how to best integrate Keyword Planner into your current SEO and PPC strategy? We’re here to help! In this post, we’ll explain the ins and outs of the new Keyword Planner, including how to make the most of its new geographic search feature.
With the death of Keyword Tool, SEO and PPC managers lost a few key features. For starters, users must now log in to their Google AdWords account in order to access the Keyword Planner. In the past, users could access the Keyword Tool without being logged into their AdWords account, which made Keyword Tool ideal for general SEO keyword research.
Secondly, the Keyword Planner does not match data for search volume, device targeting, local versus global monthly searches, or have the ability to filter by “closely related” search terms. Google did announce, however, that it will be rolling out a feature similar to Keyword Tool’s “closely related” option in the coming weeks and additional features are expected in the future.
While some features have been lost with the introduction of Keyword Planner, the new features certainly offset these losses. New features, such as the ability to bundle geographic regions together along with enhanced geographic segmentation, will prove especially useful for analyzing keyword search volume data on a city-by-city level.
Additionally, users will notice an increase in search volume data with Keyword Planner. By default, the Keyword Tool only showed average search volume for desktop and laptop computers. Now, the Keyword Planner will be showing search volume for all computers, as well as tablets and mobile phones.
Keyword Planner, unlike its generalized predecessor, is far more focused and structured. While this does mean a loss in general SEO research functionality, it also means that the new tool is the ultimate weapon for building an effective PPC campaign. Most importantly, Keyword Planner provides enhanced insight into keywords, ad groups, bidding, and budgets:
Google’s new Keyword Planner is a combination of the old Keyword Tool and the AdWords Traffic Estimator tool. The Keyword Planner is designed to make it easier for advertisers to create new ad groups and ad campaigns, which are keys to PPC success. To get started, you’ll need to be signed into your AdWords account. Next, from the Tools and Analysis menu bar, select Keyword Planner.
After selecting Keyword Planner, you can choose from three paths:
The majority of users will select the first option: search for keyword and ad group ideas. Selecting this option will activate Google’s robust keyword planning tool. Using this interface, Keyword Planner allows you to brainstorm ideas through three key methods:
One of the major benefits of the new Keyword Planner is the ability to be extra picky about which keywords to include or exclude. These robust filtering capabilities are a significant improvement over Google’s old Keyword Tool. You can now filter keywords using the following:
Do you need keyword ideas for your next ad campaign? Are the keywords you’re currently using underperforming? Keyword Planner can help you find new keywords (including less competitive, higher-converting phrases known as long-tail keywords) and estimate keyword performance. When conducting your keyword research, keep in mind that Google recommends advertisers have between 5 and 20 keywords per ad group.
If you already have a list of keywords, you can manually enter these keywords or upload a CSV file. Next, use the performance indicator data to learn more about how these words should perform. If your words are significantly underperforming on clickthrough rate (CTR), this may be a sign that your overall ad language is poorly worded.
Keyword Planner helps users target keywords based on geographic location and language. For example, let’s say you want to advertise your Texas dude ranch to potential customers living in Paris who speak French—you’ve seen an increased interest in French citizens visiting other dude ranches and you want to take advantage of France’s sudden willingness to trade their baguettes and brie for cowboy boots. To do so, you’ll need to edit the settings on the targeting panel.
Once you’ve set your location and language parameters, Google will tailor its keyword ideas and historical search data to match them.
Keyword Planner not only is a great research tool, but it also saves time by automatically combining two or more lists of keywords. Returning to our previous example of Texas dude ranches, you may have a list of geographic terms (e.g., Texas, Austin, Dallas) and a list of words that describe your dude ranch (e.g., dude ranch, horseback riding, etc.) The multiply feature will combine keywords from both lists to create new phrases such as “Dallas Dude Ranches” or “Austin, TX horseback riding.” Then, Keyword Planner will give you new traffic estimates and historical statistics for these combined words.
Keyword Planner is the ultimate tool for estimating PPC traffic—it’s the perfect way to test drive your campaign and gives you a great idea for how different keywords may perform. Once you’ve entered or uploaded keyword lists and/or multiplied lists together, you can use Keyword Planner to get estimates for these lists and save the lists to your account.
The new Google Keyword Planner makes it easier than ever to build an AdWords campaign entirely from scratch or to improve an existing campaign. However, if you’re looking for a tool to conduct general SEO keyword research, you’ll need to try other keyword research tools such as iSpionage.