The New Face of Keyword Research

There was much excitement in the SEO world recently when some people noticed that Google was including search volume in its AdWords Keyword tool. At first this was thought to be a leak, but Google has now confirmed the change so it's official. The implications of this additional data are far reaching, but I think people are too busy looking up keyword data to have realized. Fortunately for me I commute to and from work on a train which means I've got plenty of time to ponder life's mysteries.

More Accurate Data

The current market leaders in the keyword research space (KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker) rely on data from ISPs. They then take this data and extrapolate numbers that are supposed to reflect the user base of the Internet (for the US). I think most people will agree that this data isn't particularly accurate. It's good for determining relative popularity of keywords, but the absolute values are largely useless. Assuming Google isn't massaging their data before we see it and that the data is otherwise accurate, we now no longer have to worry about inaccuracies from ISPs.

Better Upfront Planning

Search engine optimization efforts often run into issues in the planning phases when a business justification is needed. Without knowing how much volume there is for a keyword, it's difficult to put a value on obtaining a #1 ranking. Have the search volume data from Google now provides an additional data point for such calculations. For example, if a keyword has 10,000 searches a month you can backfill that number into a value per visitor calculation to help determine what it's worth spending to obtain top rankings for that keyword.

Click Through Rates for SERPs

Ever wonder what the click through rate is for a #1 ranking vs. a #2 ranking? As your site climbs up the rankings, you'll be able to calculate CTRs now by looking at the volume data from Google along with your rankings and visits. Gather enough data and you'll be able to determine whether the effort to move from position 2 to position 1 is worth the cost. Yeah usually it is, but now you can show the numbers to the bean counters to get budget approval.

Title and Description Testing

The PPC folks constantly tweak and test their titles and descriptions to squeeze out more clicks. They're able to do this because they can control things like ad position and are given impression data from Google. This data allows them to determine what copy is working best. On the SEO, such testing has been quite difficult because of things like changing search volume. Now that we can grab search volume from Google we can account for its impact on traffic allowing SEOs to play around with titles and descriptions to eke out more clicks without and change in rankings.

Improved PPC and SEO Synergies

PPC and SEO teams (at least the good ones) have often shared data to try and figure out the best way to make use of a limited budget. An expensive keyword on the PPC that doesn't have a positive ROI can become a good target for SEO. Likewise, an incredibly competitive SEO keyword could be targeted by the PPC campaign. This kind of collaboration just became easier since search volume and CPC data are now shown side-by-side in the AdWords Keyword tool. This means that both teams will be looking at the same date during their keyword research and can easily keep their eyes open for opportunities for the other team.

In the interest of a balanced view, check out Note: Michael VanDeMar's argument that the data from Google is in fact not accurate in part because of data from the Google's search network being included.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
Loading...

12 Comments

  1. I have been using the Google keyword research too since many months now and I have been pretty impressed. Previously I used to use Keyworddiscovery and Wordtracker, but after Google, I have stopped using other services. It think Google tool rocks.

    Though they should also add more city specific searches done. Currently its only Country specific. I think soon they will start making it more city specific as well.

  2. Google has finally caught up with one of the great services Overture/Yahoo offered before Panama. We spent years using that search data for discovering keywords and forecasting PPC campaign costs. Glad to have that data available again. My favorite part of the Google keyword tool, though, is the indicator of how competitive the keyword is for advertisers. Great resource to find cost per click deals.

  3. I have been using the Google keyword research info since last month to create a variety of niche sites. Thus far the results have been quite impressive.

  4. this feature is amazing, as wordtracker and keyword discovery always showed different numbers, and didn't seem to show all the right keywords.

    the only thing i've noticed is that the google search volume is not perfect either. i've seen it showing high search volume for terms i rank very highly for and receive very little traffic from.

    however, it is certainly better than the alternatives.

  5. Google has finally caught up with one of the great services Overture/Yahoo offered before Panama. We spent years using that search data for discovering keywords and forecasting PPC campaign costs. Glad to have that data available again. My favorite part of the Google keyword tool, though, is the indicator of how competitive the keyword is for advertisers. Great resource to find cost per click deals.

  6. Conversion is # 1 in my book , good info

  7. The problem that I run into with respect to any discussion re: rankings -- personalized search. What's #1 to me may not be #1 to you. The aforementioned strategies are certainly instructive... but always take with a grain of salt. Search engine traffic, broken out by keyword and followed through to conversion, will usually give you a more objective overall look at SEO.

  8. I think you are right that this changes lots of things and with tools like SpyFu also providing insights into what competitors are doing the SEO landscape is being terraformed :-) It will certainly make our advertising planning better.

  9. Marios, Thanks for posting this. We've been using KeyWordDiscovery for years now to the best of our ability to 'determine' a 'quantifiable search market'. Given that 60%+ of searchers use Google and given that most client sites see up to 70% traffic from Google, I'm looking forward to working with Google's data. Even if it combines ppc and organic results, it is (as of today) arguably the best indicator of extant search traffic for the largest channel of search traffic.

  10. Google has finally caught up with one of the great services Overture/Yahoo offered before Panama. We spent years using that search data for discovering keywords and forecasting PPC campaign costs. Glad to have that data available again. My favorite part of the Google keyword tool, though, is the indicator of how competitive the keyword is for advertisers. Great resource to find cost per click deals.

  11. Marios Alexandrou

    Jaan,

    The search volume data is for searches so it applies to both PPC and organic. The average CPC data is for getting a PPC ad in positions 1-3.

  12. I still have not verified (don’t know that I ever will) if this is for PPC search, organic search or both? Do you know?

    I am guessing it is PPC. We also don’t know for what positions these stats are for. Maybe just being on page 1 of the SERP?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.