Google recently replaced their popular Keyword Tool with the new and improved Keyword Planner. The official word from Google is that Keyword Planner combines the functionality of the Keyword Tool and popularity of the Google Traffic Estimator in a bid to simplify the planning of search campaigns for AdWords* PPC campaigns and SEO efforts.
Google AdWords* Keyword Tool has long since been a fundamental part of PPC advertising and is used by millions to source new keyword and ad group ideas and to gather performance estimates to discover the best bid and budget for each campaign.
All previous versions of the Google external Keyword Tool have died a death and are no longer available.
Fortunately, the much-loved functionality is still accessible, so you can generate lists and lists of keyword ideas using the new Keyword Planner but, in order to do so, you must be signed in to your AdWords* account.
The previous version of Google AdWords* tool, required a login in order to maximise on the results returned, but this new version does not allow for anonymous keyword checking. Although you must have an AdWords* account to use Google Keyword Planner, you do not have to spend any money on advertising.
At first glance, the two platforms look significantly different, which is understandable considering several new features have been integrated into Keyword Planner.
The main change is that now you can only view exact matches on keywords. This means the number of results will match the number of times people type in those exact keywords.
Previously you could view average searches for keywords by device. It is no longer possible to distinguish between devices with Keyword Planner. So the average search for a keyword will return higher results.
Currently, it is not possible to request a list of closely related terms to the keywords you enter but rumours abound that this option will be back soon.
*Google AdWords was renamed Google Ads in 2019
The Google Keyword Tool Data Columns have changed:
“Local monthly searches” and “global monthly searches” have been replaced with an “Average monthly searches” column.
It is still possible to get local results, but that depends on what you choose in your target settings, such as all locations for global data, or individual countries or cities.
The “Ad share column” has been replaced with the “Ad Impression Share” column, which gives you the option to watch out for potential impressions.
The “Google Search Network” column has been removed and now the network option can be found within the targeting settings. In order to pull data from the entire Search Network, you need to choose the “Google and search partners” targeting option.
The “Search share”, “Extracted from web page” and “Local search trends” columns have been completely removed, but search volume trends can be seen by hovering over the icon in the “Avg. monthly searches” column.
“Approx. CPC (Search)” has been replaced by the “Avg. CPC” column with more accurate data returned.
Initial feedback raves that increased geographic segmentation and the ability to drill down to city level for keyword search volume data, as well as the fact that users can upload their own keyword lists are three of the most appealing changes, particularly for SEO work.
The main bone of contention for new users of Google planner is the demise of match types and device types.
As is often the case with Google product launches it is highly probable that Keyword Planner is a work in progress and will continue to feature improvements and periodic updates as feedback rolls in from the main user base.