Caution on Adwords Keyword Tool Data

Just a quick one today. I’ve had a couple of people recently ask me about the accuracy of the Google Adwords Keyword tool data, and while I couldn’t possibly comment on it’s technical accuracy myself, I would be quite surprised if Google made a tool like this available to us but then fed inaccurate information back. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to just take it offline instead? That being said, there are a couple of common user errors which can mean the information you receive back is very misleading. The first and very widely made mistake is leaving it set to “broad match”, this is the default setting but when you are doing keyword research for an SEO campaign it’s important to change this to “exact match” instead, otherwise the figures you see will be wildly out, potentially leaving you thinking a term is searched for over 10,000 times a month, when in fact, it’s actually only searched for a couple of hundred times. The second typical mistake is not changing the region, I’m in the UK, as are all my clients, so I always default it to “English UK”, the default is US or All, again we are a pretty small island in the global scheme of things, so not setting that will be incredibly misleading.

The Clue is in the Name

The last point to make is that the competition column can also be misleading. Most people seem to use the keywords tool for organic keyword research, while it helps with this quite nicely, remember that the competition column is relevant for Adwords campaigns, not organic listings, so just because the tool tells you a keyword has low competition, don’t necessarily assume this applies to the organic listings too.
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3 thoughts on “Caution on Adwords Keyword Tool Data

  1. Sarah B says:

    I never made the connection before and I’ve been using it for years now, it makes sense now I think about it, why else would it be called the “ADWORDS” keyword tool. Doh!

    • Steve says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I think it’s a really common misconception, hence the post about it, I’m glad it was of help 🙂


  2. Andy P says:

    Hmmmm, it all comes down to reading the instructions. It’s like most things in life, people dive in without reading the instructions and then wonder why they got it so wrong. A little bit of attention at the start can pay dividends in the long run. I can’t say I’m completely innocent myself, I recently when to Ikea and got half way through the assembly of a wardrobe and suddenly found I had forgotten a key part and had to take it apart again. Wondering where I’m going with this? Well it’s the same with Adwords, the clue is in the name as you said, so give it a little thought and the rest of the job will become easier.

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