Recently, Google launched an update to the keyword planner that limits search volume data for most advertiser accounts with low spend or for those merely fetching data from their tool. Instead of “accurate” search data, keyword planner now shows a very wide range of search volumes.
The tool also groups together relevant keywords so “SEO” and “search engine optimization” would be grouped together and show the same search volume.
The update has caused quite a stir amongst advertisers who now have no access to the data that only Google can provide. While some third party SEO tools offer their own keyword database with search volumes, they don’t have anywhere near as much or as accurate data as Google themselves. Additionally, overtime their search volume data will become more and more inaccurate as they are mainly based on historical search stats from Google.
Why the update doesn’t really matter
Google has not limited keyword data for advertisers with a high enough spend so the recent update doesn’t affect marketers utilizing PPC marketing. For those of us interested in SEO optimization, search volume has never (or should never have) been an important metric to consider.
Firstly, there is a lot of misunderstanding about SEO keyword optimization. More often than not, people are after finding high search volume, low competition keywords for their niche sites. While this is ideal, it is difficult to find these niches and their profitability is usually limited.
For most people that own a business and have any sort of competition, their focus should be on quality content based on relevant keywords. That’s right, relevance is far more important than search volume when hunting keywords for your website. Google search results are semantic (and have been), meaning someone searching for “search engine optimization” would see results for “SEO” as well. Obviously one has more search volume than the other, but it doesn’t really matter which one you put in your page title because the most authoritative website will rank. Because of this, Google has now combined this data in keyword planner as well.
Long tail keywords are another misunderstood concept. Despite their low search volume, long tails are actually the most important because they target short keywords in phrase and broad match. For example, “home business” and “small home based business ideas for women”. The first keyword obviously has more search volume but its already broad targeted in the second longer keyword (less competitive). A website with lots of quality content based off long keywords about “home business” will eventually build enough authority to start ranking for the short, more competitive keywords. This is why Google advises bloggers to focus on quality engaging content vs trying to have the “perfect” keyword density.
How has the keyword planner update affected your business / website? Comment below.