SEO: What if the recent inaccuracies of the Keyword Planner were not such bad news?

Keyword Planner

Knowing the query search volumes in Google obviously helps to develop SEO strategy, and decide what content to produce. The Keyword Planner, a tool associated with AdWords, called in French “the keyword planning tool”, provided this information for free to everyone. But this summer, Google decided to change the rules and modified this tool. Now you have to have a paid account, having already done Adwords campaigns, to benefit from the figures, otherwise the proposed data refer to much less precise volumes. And even with a paid account, Google now regroups several keywords , to include some of its variants. And sometimes, for certain queries, the engine gives no volume.

With a free account, the Keyword Planner gives only 3 very inaccurate volume slices for 6 required keywords: “imprecision”, “imprecision”, “imprecision”, “imprecision”, “SEO”, and “Search Engine Optimization”. © Capture

For free accounts, Google admits that “some of the keywords you entered and their close variants were grouped together on a single line.” Concretely, in the example above, the search volumes displayed are the same for “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization”. Note also in this example that no slice is displayed for “inaccuracies”.

This is barely better for paying accounts: certainly the trenches disappear, in favor of finer estimates, but again Google regroups keywords and their variants, and still gives no estimate for certain queries … © capture

Even with a paid account, it becomes difficult to know how many words are grouped behind the estimates displayed by the tool, when there is one. In short: the Keyword Planner has lost a lot of reliability …. This would call into question the many tools that used this data source.

A useful history

The editors of these solutions had to roll up their sleeves to see how they could react. Without hurry, since most of them have a history from the Keyword Planner, which allows them to approach serenely the next few months. “We do not worry too much over the next six months, as our history will allow us to continue to provide relevant volumes, including seasonal variations.” For some keywords, previously observed trends and volumes will be the same In the future, “says Cédric Messoumian, who runs Ranks.

This is true for words that will not know an unpredictable news, and for queries already known and followed. But the tools do not always have the history of all the keywords they are currently following, especially if they have enriched their base lately. However, there is a need to explore new avenues to continue updating volumes. And the most obvious data sources were not the most reliable, or the simplest to use.

The complicated track of Search Console

This is obviously the alternative data source to which we think quickly: the Search Console . It displays impressions that are sometimes very precise, for many keywords. But, before using this data, it is already necessary for SEO tools publishers to have access to their clients’ search consoles or to convince them to be able to access them.

This is not the only problem. Those who already have a large amount of archived data from this Search Console quickly realized the limitations of this tool. “This is also data from Google, and we can also question their reliability,” said Alexandre Sigoigne, CEO and co-founder of MyPoseo. Moreover, “the average positions provided by this tool are not always obvious to exploit” … Indeed: it is enough that a page, indicated in fifth  position on average in the console, has passed from time to time Time in second  page of results so that its number of impressions is difficult to exploit. Especially since Google does not ‘

Some data are difficult to understand in Search Console. One wonders how Google calculates them. © Capture

And if a site is number 1 on the query, with great consistency, for a very long time? “This is already based on assumptions in cascades,” observed Alexandre Sigoigne, who said he had already seen the case … and thus found that the Search Console traced a mean position different from that observed over the long term. This is not the only strangeness he observed: “sometimes the indicator posted for Monday is not the same if we look at it on Tuesday or Wednesday, Google modifies the information returned, there. “In any case,” he concluded, “there have always been differences between the search volume given by the Keyword Planner, the impressions of the Search Console, and the actual number of times a query will be entered in the Engine for one month.

Other sources of data, and solutions already found

The work of the editors is thus to determine which data to resume, which will probably already push them to ask some very sound questions. Obviously, it is primarily to Google they turn, because it is the only one to be able to know the actual search volume of the queries. Apart from the Search Console and the Keyword Planner, publishers also looked at Google Trends, “a horror to exploit” for some, “a track to study” for others … But the data may also not come from Google : There are in particular those from panels of Internet users observed, which can provide many statistics. It is for example this path that has chosen to explore, openly, the famous American publisher Moz.

It is the selection, then the processing and the combination of all these data sources that will make it possible to formulate the (magic) formula which again shows volumes of freshly calculated keywords. Yooda, Ranks, MyPoseo … all are looking for this formula, and the first publishers should begin to draw their solution in a short time: it’s more a question of days than weeks or months for some At least what they claimed at the JDN.

Moz, SEMrush and Yooda have already found a solution

Apart from Moz, SEMrush has already developed its own solution. The data provided by this tool concerning the volumes are not those of the Keyword Planner. This service which follows for the hexagonal market a number of keywords (6 million) less important than other French players, did not want to go into too much detail, but developed a years ago a method Which allows it not to rely on data from the Keyword Planner. Why did you choose this more difficult path? “It was in order to create something unprecedented, without depending on Google and its Keyword Planner,” explained Natalya Zhukova, the tool ambassador in France who mystified The method used, and the data used.

Yooda, meanwhile, should soon announce a solution that allows it to assign search volumes to new keywords. After having, like its competitors, explored many tracks, the Montpellier editor soon realized that “no solution was perfect”. “It will be more expensive for us, but we are confident,” explains Lionel Miraton, Webmarketing manager and training for this actor. “The track of the Search Console has not been retained, at least for now,” he continues. Yooda’s solution uses history, an “other source of data” (which the publisher does not want to reveal), as well as “statistical know-how”. Lionel Miraton is particularly sure of the volumes that will be estimated, “

A bad for a good

“In the end, what we propose will be better than before, and more refined, so it will be good news for the user,” comments the employee of Yooda, who appreciates, in passing, that the quality of the data provided By publishers becomes an issue – it is true that before, the data were the same for everyone, and a race to the amount of keywords tracked could be observed. In short, these changes to the Keyword Planner ultimately represent “an opportunity”, admits Yooda’s webmarketing manager.

The other good news for customers is that each tool will be able to offer its own solution, which will help them better differentiate themselves from each other. This gives new elements of comparison, which can weigh in the choices of the users. “This will accentuate the particularities, as players already have their formula to calculate click-through rates and estimate SEO traffic or SEO visibility,” noted Cedric Messoumian of Ranks. Having distinct methods can help publishers better distinguish their differences, and the relevance of their singularity will be as convincing to prospects as to clients. A bargain, then.

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