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Weekly HubFeed: AdWords Keyword Tool Changes


Welcome to the Weekly HubFeed where we unpack this week's digital marketing news. This week, we're going to be covering the recent changes to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetser.

Also available on YouTube.

Yeah, good morning. Google has updated its Keyword Planner, and they are planning to limit data for small advertisers. You know, many advertisers have been talking about this, Chad. They've been talking about glitches, also, that they've been seeing in Google's Keyword Planner tool for a while. And then, about five days ago, Google went on the record and said, "Well, those technical issues are now resolved. Oh, but some changes have also been rolled out." And I think they made this on a Friday afternoon, very short said. That's traditionally what they do when they want to bury something that they're not particularly proud of.

So here's what Google actually said: "Most advertisers will see search volume data as usual, but those with lower monthly spend may see a limited data view." So what does this mean, a limited data view? Well, they're going to show less traffic estimate data for the average searches column. So you look in the average searches column, instead of seeing specific data, you might see ranges now - 0; 1-100; 10k-100k; etc. And this limited data view will also kick in for advertisers that search for data on search volume too often. So they're targeting kind of two groups, groups that don't spend enough money with them and those who may overuse the Keyword Planner tool.

So why the changes? Well, Google says the changes were made to keep the Keyword Planner tool "to ensure that AdWords advertisers are able to get the data they need to optimize their accounts".

Yeah, and Adam, there's definitely some strong reactions here from the industry. We have a couple things that we've heard. You know, many advertisers definitely use that Keyword Planner tool to, obviously, help size up markets and make recommendations to small businesses, and so this will certainly put them at a disadvantage.

Another one, another thing I think that's, if we're reading between the lines of what you just said, is that a lot of people in the industry use the Keyword research tool, or Planner tool, for doing SEO research to try to find keywords that would be good targets for writing content, that might answer questions that people are often searching. So they're using that data and, also, there's a whole series of tools out there that also more than likely pull that AdWords keyword volume data and make it available in tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs. So again, reading between the lines, some of those tools will most likely be impacted by this change.

Again, Google is definitely still the dominant player in search, and so the thing that's really interesting here is that they probably have the most information of anybody in the world about what people are searching for on a daily basis. And so, in the U.S. as an example, that they have, basically, about 73% of the $30 billion search ad market. There's a worldwide market of about $47 billion, and they have 55% of that market. So they are the dominant player.

This was a tool that a lot of people might question exactly whether you were getting all the information, but now they're taking it a step further here where they're going to pull more information back. Of course, it will be available to those people advertising, but for those people who are not advertising, they're going to get very broad ranges.

So how this will relate to small business and how it will impact them, I think that a lot of people, as you said Adam, will not see an impact because they already have an AdWords account and they'll be able to continue using the Keyword Planner, but those people who are trying to get started are going to maybe be forced to go to professionals who have accounts already and can get a more precise measure of what the keyword volume is. So they might be actually pushing small businesses to work with agencies who have access to the information that Google's now not going to be providing.

But I do think that we should also just state that, you know, the days of over-optimizing on keywords is kind of over. Changes Google has made, like Hummingbird, over the years, have made the way that people write content and the way that Google interprets your information much more about answering questions and relevant keywords, and actually Google's gotten smarter with being able to figure out what keywords mean. So knowing the exact volume on a particular keyword isn't quite as important as it once was.

But thanks again for joining our HubFeed today. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and we look forward to talking to you next time. Thanks.