I have to say that I am at a bit of a loose end with the plug being pulled on Google’s Keyword Tool. Ok, its demise was well published ahead of time so it was no surprise and we all knew that we would have to get to grips with the Keyword Planner, which has been available for some time now but nothing can prepare you for losing one of your favourite tools. Even if the Keyword Planner is a sufficient replacement (and its not proven to me yet) I was a seasoned user of the Keyword Tool and whenever I use the Planner I find myself uncertain of the availability of data I want and could get in seconds with the Keyword Tool.
Apparently the data now reported is exact match only, which I feel is the correct metric and will prevent novices from focusing on the broad match data that was the previous default. However we have lost functionality and for regular users it was nice to have the choice of broad, phrase and exact match like before. Other options have now disappeared too like the ability to target by device; now users will get a combined report of all devices, which according to Google may create the illusion that there are discrepancies over the new and the old data when there actually aren’t any. The ability to filter by local and global searches also seems to have disappeared. It all seems a bit negative but there are improvements right out of the box such as geographic segmentation and the bundling of geographic region data. In addition to this users are able to upload up to 10,000 of their own keywords in order to get performance data. Google are also claiming to be adding some missing features to Planner that were once in the Keyword Tool but we will have to wait a few weeks for them. I think we really need to wait and see what is going to happen with the Planner over the coming months because I am sure as time goes on its benefits and advantages over the old Keyword Tool will reveal themselves.
Interestingly, the makers of Market Samurai (which is the go to keyword research tool for most SEO’s) have embraced the change and updated their API to pull data directly from the Keyword Planner rather than the Keyword Tool well before the switch-over. Ok, there have been some reported bumps in the road but the way they have handled the change was quite excellent and they are now reporting that Market Samurai queries are being reported faster than before now they are pulling data out from the Keyword Planner. Most other functionality in Market Samurai (from the front end) remains unchanged and it still works like before, even though a lot of things have changed behind the scenes. Maybe Keyword Tool disappearing will get a boat load of new Market Samurai users as keyword research in the short term has become more difficult using Google’s own tools, at least that is, until people get to grips with them.