Posted August 13, 2010 – 5:21 pm
I am very disappointed by the new version of Google’s Keyword Tool. In my opinion, the new keyword tool is a big step backward and basically sucks.
Google’s Keyword Tool is a keyword research tool that is part of Google AdWords. Until now, it has been the most accurate, most accessible, and most useful keyword research tool available.
But there are major problems with the new version which result in much lower quality and accuracy keyword suggestions.
Sadly, Google announced this week that the new version of the Keyword Tool is coming out of beta at the end of August. At that time, the old tool will no longer be accessible. In recent months while Google has been testing the beta in general release, Google has provided an prominent link from the new interface to the old interface. That has allowed me to put off the day of reckoning.
But with the imminent demise of the old version upon us, I’ve taken some time to carefully test and compare the two versions side-by-side. The result is not pretty. My conclusion: Without a doubt that the new version generates just incredibly, dramatically worse keyword lists than the old version.
New vs. Old: Suggested Keywords Comparison
The main problem with the new version of the tool is that it generates much less useful and relevant alternative keywords than the old interface does. Like by a HUGE margin. It is shocking how different the results are.
I just compared the suggested keywords generated by the two versions using a set of ~35 keywords/phrases related to ‘web tools’ (list pasted below). While the new tool always generates worse results, this particular set of terms really highlight how extremely bad the new tool is.
New Version Results
The new tool generated a list of 800 keywords (as it does for every set of keywords no matter how long it is). The vast majority of these 800 suggested terms had absolutely nothing to do with ‘web tools’.
When sorted by ‘global search volume’, only 7 of the top 50 results even contained or was even vaguely related to ‘web tools’. Instead, as you can see in the screenshot below, the results are full of irrelevant terms like ‘joomla’, ‘drupal’, ‘ecommerce’, etc. Even wackadoodle terms such as ‘art design’ and ‘fashion design’ make it onto the list.
In other words, the new version generates a list that is essentially useless.
Old Version Results
On the other hand, the old version generates a highly useful list of 150 terms all of which are tightly related to ‘web tools’. Every single one of the terms in the list contains the word ‘tool’ combined with variations on ‘web’ and related ideas: ‘webmaster’ ‘web design’ ‘free website’ ‘seo’, ‘online’, etc. There is not one term that’s off target – and certainly nothing remotely approaching the uselessness of ‘art design’.
In other words, the old version generates an extremely useful and accurate list of suggested keywords.
As you can see plainly by comparing the two lists, the difference in keyword relevance between the old version and the new version is night and day. It is quite remarkable.
There are at least two other major problems with the new version:
- In the new version, when you click the advanced option to include only ‘ideas containing my search terms’, the new tool, which moments before eagerly pumped out 800 terms, suddenly becomes incredibly parsimonious and oftentimes offers up just a handful of terms. When I tried this for the list of 35 or so ‘web tools’ terms, I get LESS terms than I started with – only 26! And even the new ones in this list are not terribly relevant or useful. This boggles the mind.
- The old version had a fantastically helpful option to see data limited to just ‘the keywords I entered’. This generated search counts and CPC stats, etc. limited specifically to your target list. The new version simply does not have this feature at all. That means that even if I can piece together a decent master list on my own (with or without the help of the new Keyword Tool), I can’t even validate this list using Google search volume and estimated CPC data.
I have to assume these major changes have been made by design and that Google has purposefully chosen to restrict/reduce the accuracy and relevance of the keyword data that they are sharing with us customer types.
Needless to say, I am not looking forward to losing the old version at the end of August.
List of ‘web tools’ related terms that I used to test both versions.
101 web tools
basic web tools
best web design tools
best web tools
complete web tools
cool web tools
essential web toolkit
essential web tools
free web tools
my best web tools
my top tools
my web toolkit
my web tools
online web tools
top web tools
useful web tools
web design tools
web search tools
web seo tools
web tool pages
web tool pal
web tool review
web tool reviews
web tool tips
web tools 101
web tools directory
web tools pages
web tools review