Google Keyword Planner Has Updated! Has Keyword Research Changed Forever?


Keyword research is one of the most important parts to get right at the start of any SEO campaign. It can really make or break the campaign. If it isn't done correctly then you are going to be targeting phrases that are either way too competitive or phrases that don't really get many searches.

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On the other hand, if it is done well it sets the basis for a great search engine optimisation campaign and the results can be extremely rewarding.

The majority of marketers, SEOs and even some business owners will all be familiar with the Google Keyword Planner and Google Keyword Tool before it. Many of us have relied on this free tool for a long time now as it provides search query volume, ideas, average AdWords cost per click, AdWords competition and more. However, the Keyword Planner we all know and love has been overhauled! Well, the average monthly searches section has anyway. This section used to show us a search figure for a phrase, i.e. 120 searches. Since the update, it now shows a ranged figure i.e. between 10-100 etc. So now with the Google Keyword Planner we have no real idea of exact search volume, just a really broad estimate.

What are the consequences of this update? Has keyword research changed forever? Continue reading below to hear our thoughts...

What Does The New Update Look Like?

The new update basically shows a keyword volume range instead of a figure, i.e. 10-100 searches. Please see the screenshot below...


As you can see the average monthly search ranges are really broad. The difference is huge compared to the information we used to get! From my experience with the new update so far there are a few different ranges Google gives us. These are:

  • 0-10
  • 10-100
  • 100-1K
  • 1K-10K
  • 10K-100K

There are a few more on the higher end of the scale, i.e. 100K – 1M, but none of us are really going to be looking at keywords in that range!

Does The Update Affect All Google Users?

If you have a standard Google account then yes the update will affect you. However, if you have an active Google AdWords account with live campaigns then the update won't affect you. You will still be given search volume data as before. Although, these figures are not exact and are based on averages. This doesn't apply to Google AdWords Manager accounts though. These accounts will still be affected by the update, unless you are actually running a live PPC campaign from your account.

What Does This Mean?

Well, really it means we are limited and have less resources. We no longer have access to a proper estimate of keyword volume. We are now given a broad range that we will have to use to the best of our ability. The only way to really know how many searches a keyword is getting now is through using Google AdWords.

What Are The Consequences? Has Keyword Research Changed Forever?

To answer this, if you don't have an active Google AdWords campaign then yes, for you, keyword research has changed for the foreseeable future anyway. You will no longer be able to get average search volume for keywords, making it much more difficult to select the right keywords to target as search volume plays a big role in this. The consequences of this are that if you do choose a keyword in the 10-100 range for example, you need to be prepared that the search volume could well be on the lower end of the scale. However, if you have an active Google AdWords account, as expressed before, then nothing has really changed for you.

Using Common Sense

If you don't currently have access to a Google AdWords account then unfortunately you are now going to see the limited data. In this case, we all just need to use a bit of common sense. For example, if you are doing keyword research for a blog post and the keyword is a long tailed phrase made up of 4 or 5 words, you are likely going to either get a 0-10 range or 10-100 range from the Keyword Planner. Use a bit of common sense and ask yourself how many people would really search for this? How obscure is this phrase? From my previous experience how many searches would this get? If you answer these questions you will be more knowledgeable and have a better understanding of the search volume data you are given.


To summarise, the Keyword Planner has been updated for users with basic Google accounts and we now have to work with slightly more limited data. This is more evidence again that Google is favouring paid search advertisers. If you have any questions on the new Google Keyword Planner or would like to speak to someone in more detail about keyword research and SEO, call us today on 01332 343281.

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