The Google Keyword Tool is a useful tool for your keyword research, which is the first stage of any successful SEO strategy or PPC campaign. Recently Google has been spring cleaning their products and the Keyword Tool has been given a fresh look. But are the changes purely superficial or will they have any impact?
I’ll start by saying that the new look is undoubtedly fresh, clean and clear. Features are more clearly laid out and signposted, which is a major bonus for users. While many of the features you’ll see aren’t actually new, they are now more prominent or simply easier to navigate to, making for a more user-friendly experience.
There may be no change to the data, but columns such as Local Search Trends were previously only shown after customising your layout. Many other tweaks like this don’t give users anything new, but allow anyone without previous experience with the tool easier access to advanced features.
There are however a few new features that deserve a mention.
Search Type – Broad, [Exact], “Phrase”
Previously you could choose whether you wanted to do keyword research on a broad, exact or phrase match. Now you can do all three at once and download the results in one spreadsheet. This is mostly a benefit for anyone setting up a PPC campaign, but it can be useful for keyword research too.
Want to know how much competition there is on that juicy long tail keyword phrase? Now you can just click on the phrase to be taken to the Google results page.
While this tool might make your life easier, just seeing how many results Google serves for your keyword does not give a true reflection of how much competition there is for a phrase. If you want to know how many websites are optimised for your keywords you need to use the intitle: command in your search results.
So clicking on your keyword might show you this:
But the intitle command will show you how many of your competitors understand SEO and are optimising their content for your keywords:
The new categories feature does exactly what it says on the tin – groups your keywords into relevant categories. This is particularly useful for managing PPC campaigns, which is after all what the AdWords tool was made for.
If you are creating a Pay Per Click campaign all you need to do is put negative matches on keywords from categories that are unrelated to your own, which should help keep your cost per click down and your click through rate high.
Previously the Google Keyword Tool only let you download entire spreadsheets of data or individual keywords without any of the search numbers. While the first option was helpful for analysis, you did have to trawl through a whole lot of information to get to the facts you were interested in. The second option was helpful for creating a PPC campaign, but less useful for analysing keyword research.
Now you can have the best of both worlds and just select the keywords that you are interested in to download but you still get the lovely raw data to analyse.
Simply highlight your choices, choose to just download the selected keywords and you’ll get your keywords along with global and local monthly search volumes. They do give you search data for the previous 12 months, so you may still need to delete – or ignore – extra information, but generally there seems to be less to wade through.
If you are using the Keyword Tool to set up your AdWords campaign the new downloading features do have one big downside – no option to highlight a keyword phrases for a negative match. While there are ways round it – downloading a spreadsheet just for negative matches, for example – it is the one clear problem with the new tool.
The New Google Keyword Tool is taking a massive step in the right direction. The changes may not be extensive, but the tool already worked well. Instead these changes make for a tool that will be more useful to both SEO bods doing research and anyone using PPC, good work Google.