Will the Keyword Planner affect your organic keyword research?

Every good search marketing campaign starts with keyword research. The data gathered can act as a strong foundation for a successful SEM journey, giving you the opportunity to identify and target the search queries related to your product or service that users are choosing to type into search engines.

The trusted source frequently used to perform keyword research for organic search - the Google AdWords Keyword Tool - is in the process of being sidelined in favour of the brand new Keyword Planner. With the tool including new and refreshed features and leaving a few old favourites behind, how is the Keyword Planner going to affect your organic keyword research?

Keyword Planner features

Localised search volume

The Keyword Planner gives you the opportunity to drill down your search volume to a specific geographic location. As well as being able to see country-wide statistics, you now have the opportunity to view search volume for specific regions and cities.

This is a particularly valuable feature for those looking to geo-target their SEO. If a local business can only operate within a specific location, you have the opportunity to conduct local research and gain useful data on the search queries being made in that area.

Being able to view local search volume may also prove useful for campaigns already set up. You can decipher how well keywords are likely to perform in key locations, with clear information on whether or not users are searching for those terms in that specific area.

Ad Groups as default

The results are shown in Ad Groups by default in the Keyword Planner, with Keywords Ideas still being available. Ad Groups presents you with clear clusters of keyword ideas as opposed to an uncategorised list of keywords.

Rather than having to sift through a large number of potentially irrelevant keywords, this new presentation style gives you the opportunity to remain efficient as you can pinpoint a relevant group of keywords with greater ease.

Goodbye Broad and Phrase

Google has decided to exclude historical broad and phrase match keyword data from the Keyword Planner. While you have the option to add keyword ideas to a plan and review traffic estimates for each type, historical statistics will only be available for exact match types.

The exact statistics also combine search volume for all devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, different from the Keyword Tool where data was separated.

Will this affect your organic keyword research?

A number of the new features including localised search volume and viewing Ad Groups by default are likely to prove valuable during keyword research, allowing you to gain access to detailed, focused data which in turn can help you to better target your intended audience.

However, losing phrase match type in favour of the sole display of historical exact match type data may prove troublesome when determining the strength of a keyword. While you are still provided with a good overview of the terms worth targeting in the Keyword Planner, you do lose insight into how well a keyword performs in a phrase, which could be considerably better than when used alone.

Focused on paid search

While the Keyword Tool and Keyword Planner can be used to help with keyword research for organic search, this is not their primary function. Instead, their main role is to support campaign set up-and management for paid search.

It appears that the new Keyword Planner has been designed with the aim of further helping AdWords users to run successful PPC campaigns, as many of the new features including the keywords plan section and average CPC information have been included to make building campaigns more efficient.

However, as shown above, there is still plenty of valuable information available that can aid with organic keyword research for campaigns, including a cleaner interface and a selection of new features to help you gain access to more focused data.

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