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An in-depth explanation of exactly why the Google External Keyword Tool should not be relied upon for SEO keyword research, even though it now shows precise numbers.
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from Chris1 2351 Days ago #
Votes: 3

I don’t think that KD, WT or WordZe are anywhere near as accurate or up-to-date as the Google tool or the MSN Ad Intelligence for Excel Beta.  Nice affiliate link drops, though.

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from mvandemar 2351 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Then perhaps you should test for yourself Chris. I wasn’t simply posting some random opinion, I was posting based on actual experience using the tool and experimentation.

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from MariosAlexandrou 2351 Days ago #
Votes: 1

The comment that the search values are for worldwide searches seems to be counter to the description Google provides which says that the volume data is tied to the country you’re targeting. Google even provides an option to select your location before doing any research.Testing is a good idea though. Hopefully over time we’ll get some more results from people which in aggregate will reveal the accuracy of the data Google is providing.And for those looking for a more opptimistic view of the new tool, feel free to check out this Sphinn submission: http://sphinn.com/story.php?id=58978

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from Skitzzo 2351 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Lol Chris, did you even bother to read the post? Certainly the keyword tools we have now are all flawed in some respects but the hype around Google’s keyword tool was that it would be spot on. This post explains (fairly well I think) why it’s not going to be nearly as accurate as people have been hyping it up to be.That said, they all have their uses IMO.

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from Chris1 2351 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I have tested all of the keyword tools mentioned.  That includes the paid version of each of the three tools you mention in this article.To build on your poetry example: according to KD, here is the fourth most popular keyword phrase (with a search volume of 4547) that includes the term poetry... "writing writer forum freelance poetry fiction".  You can go ahead and optimize your site for nonsense like this, but I think I will stick to using the free tools from Google and MSN.

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from Skitzzo 2351 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Chris, again I’m forced to ask, did you even read the article? It’s not talking about how great KD or the others are, it’s about how Google’s new tool isn’t the be-all and end-all that it’s being made out to be.If you’re going to defend your position, give examples of how Google’s tool is spot on and gives accurate data, not where the others out there miss it.

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from Chris1 2351 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I did read the article and it just seems like sloppy testing and an excuse to drop a few affiliate links to me.I wonder why he tested this tool the way he did.  Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to test the accuracy of the tool by comparing the tool’s forecasted impressions to a campaign that was opted out of Google’s search network and parked domans?  The article argues that he recived traffic from sites that were parked and other search sites that appear in google’s advertising network.  Why was this tested on a campaign that was receiving international traffic, traffic from the search network and traffic from parked domains?When I ran similar tests on the three paid tools and MSN, I made sure that:- only exact match was used in the test campaign and the tools (where possible)- only US traffic was being tested and estimated in the campaign and the tools (where possible)- the campaign was opted out of the search network- the campaign was opted out of parked domains using stie and category exclusion (which doesn’t really even need to be done if you are opted out of the search network)By testing like this, I was able to (at least in theory) block all non-US, non-Google traffic as well as expanded match terms from spoiling my test results.  And from my results, I can say that paid versions of KD, WT and WZ were not very accurate at all.  I haven’t run a full scale test like this with the new numbers being offered by Google just yet but I can tell just by eyeballing some terms that this tool is a far better indicator than any of the three paid tools I have tested before.  Also, MSN’s tool seems to be fairly powerful and accurate if you are looking for relative volume of terms in a given niche/category.It looks like KD has at least updated its keyword database, as annouced in late June of this year.  When I tested their paid tool back in the spring, you would have been amazed how out-of date the search data they were providing was.  Most of the search data was 3-4 years old and almost none of it was over the past year or so from what I could tell.

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from mvandemar 2350 Days ago #
Votes: -1

The article argues that he recived traffic from sites that were parked and other search sites that appear in google’s advertising network.  Why was this tested on a campaign that was receiving international traffic, traffic from the search network and traffic from parked domains?Because you cannot opt out of those factors in the keyword tool external, which is what the post was about, Chris.You seem to be of the mind that I signed up as an affiliate to those sites, and then fabricated something to blog about. Those links were an afterthought. If you personally choose to believe that they invalidate the post, then fine, I could actually care less. Like I said before, feel free to run whatever tests you want disproving what I said.

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from mvandemar 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Ok, so, somehow I missed the fact that you can change your country for the Keyword Tool External. You cannot opt out of the search network, however.

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from usaexpressmoving 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I think one can’t say that the Google tool is "useless" for SEO. That’s a bit of an overstatement considering that you can at the very least use it to see if a keyword is looked up at all. And what if you are targeting the entire world? Is it such a bad thing to not limit your research to one country?

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from Jill 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great post! When playing with the tool over the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel that the numbers just seemed way high. There were some phrases that I have had very high rankings on for a long time and never see even close to the volume of traffic predicted by the tool.The fact that they use the content network in their numbers makes it all start to make sense to me now. It’s certainly a decent tool, but as with all the KWR tools available, you really can’t put much stock in the numbers and never could. I always recommend looking at the relative position of the phrases in the list rather than looking at the numbers because they’ve always been fairly useless. (That goes for KD and WT as well.)

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from mvandemar 2350 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@usaexpressmoving - it wasn’t just the fact that you couldn’t (or at least I thought you couldn’t) limit by region, it was a combination of factors. The The fact that they include a much wider array of sources than just Google was my main point... if you optimize for and get to the #1 position in Google.com for your target phrase, you still won’t get anywhere near what that tool predicts you will.Yes, you can still glean something from it, insofar as if a term does *not* show, then for sure it’s not worth pursuing. But like I said in the post, the thing that had originally clued me into the numbers being way off was when I used it myself for that purpose, got 3 phrases ranked well, and wound up with 5 clicks over a 3 month period.Jill is right... regardless of the tool, you cannot take the numbers at face value 100%.

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from Jeremy 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@ Jill - just to clarify, content network numbers are not included in the estimates. Search network numbers yes, content network no.

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from FLSEO 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I ran a few tests with the tool and I didn’t find the numbers to be very accurate ... that’s it.

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from chrisking 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great post. While I don’t think this tool is useless for SEO by any means, I agree that all it really means is we have a new set of fake numbers to play with.  And if these numbers are incredibly inflated then they can be dangerous numbers to play with if clients see this data as truth. You are especially dead on about the Google Domain Parking sites that account for boatloads of garbage traffic that are wrongly labeled and charged as "searches"

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from emanuelh 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

A major factor inflating Google’s figures is all those applications that check rankings, on top of manual search queries whose sole purpose is to check rankings or inspect the presence of a page or an ad you know you’ll find on Google’s top SERP.

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from oskar 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think that the article is quite insightful and I am sure that everybody here takes the search volume figures provided by any tool with a big pinch of salt. Having said that I think that the whole approach, as usual, is american english centred and doesn’t take into account other languages/markets. Has anybody done keyword research in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese or German to name four of the most popular languages? I did. I would use an euphemism not to offend anybody but the figures and suggestions being done by the main commercial keyword tools for all those languages are, let’s be kind, far from ideal. I already used Google as the main source of information for keyword research in those languages even before this improvement. Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker just don’t perform for those languages so we have to stick to Google that not being perfect at least is comprehensive and tells you what terms are out there (even if they are coming from the adsense network and not just Google). At the end of the day nobody is naive enough to take the figures as holy, wherever they are coming from, but as a point of reference to see what terms are being used on the internet and make educated assumptions.At the end of the day, only 30% of internet users speak English and with an Internet penetration of more than 70% for USA already this figure is unlikely to increase.

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from hugoguzman 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 4

@DarrenSlatten - well said. As with most things, relativity is key.Me and some of my fellow Zeta folks have run various tests regarding the data being spouted out by KD, MSN’s tool, and Google’s tool (compared against actual impression data gathered from client SEM accounts).Though none of the tools are 100% accurate, Google and MSN far outshine the others in terms of consistency and relative search volume projections; probably because they have actual search data to work with.

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from joehall 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I tend not to put a whole lot of stock in just one tool. Like Jill I like taking a look at relative positions of phrases.

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from mvandemar 2350 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@DarrenSlatten - I very specifically addressed the relativity of the numbers, and why you cannot simply overestimate across the board. 9th paragraph:Now, while you might be tempted to do so, you cannot just reduce it down and say, "Ok, just take the number the Keyword Tool shows, and multiply it by 5.68%”. The keywords weren’t distributed at all evenly in that way. [best friend poems], for instance, didn’t receive any official Google traffic during this test.I know that’s the most common way to compensate for inaccuracies in all of the keyword tools out there, so wanted to make sure I discussed it.

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