What REALLY Happened to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool

On Thursday I wrote the post, Hey! Who Broke The Google Adwords Keyword Tool? giving some insight into the mystery behind the sudden decline in keyword search volume. While Google had announced that they had dropped partners from the keyword tool they didn’t say much about who those partners were or how you could obtain similar data. Well, I’m excited to say that a blog reader has been able to give us much better insight into what’s going on here and he shared it in a recent comment:

Morgan Sir, I was also distressed to see a large reduction in exact match keyword results. I had dozens go from four figures to three figures in exact local match. There has been some discussion on this topic in the forums, including NamePros and WebMasterWorld, and even in the Google Adwords discussion forums. It was frustrating to develop an exact match product longtail and see it go from 8,100 exact local to 720 exact.

In calling for support for my Adwords account, the same explanation you stated above was proffered. They also suggested I would have greater accuracy using their GATE tool instead of the GAKT, and that it would be better to estimate my advertising costs. The Google Adwords Traffic Estimator, GATE, is now accessible from the new Keywords Tool page.

From what I have been able to discern from the various discussion forums and Google documentation, the old GAKT tool was showing search data for all searches they performed on behalf of other sites. Searching for Powered by Google (TM) shows they are supplying search engines for thousands of sites. Search sites they support include Shopping.com, AOL, college web sites, Go.com, Bizrate, Dogpile, Excite.com, etc.

My preference would be the inclusion of data from all search partners, as this would provide a more accurate representation of interest in a keyword. As Google is not serving advertising on the search partner pages, however, and Adwords is a merchant program to sell ads, I understand the decision to limit search result totals to only those searches where their customer’s paid advertising appears. This does make the GAKT results less useful for determining site development potential. (Ken Stack, on 10/1/2010)

As you can see from Ken’s comment the search partners were literally thousands of sites for which Google provides search services for. With all of this data removed it’s not surprising the numbers are as low as they are now – that was a big chunk of search volume! However, it does look like the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator could be a useful tool when used in conjunction with the GAWKT, still I think that Google may have just opened the door to a great new service that offers people like us more complete search data.

Thanks for all the great comments on my previous post – it is clear this is a topic people are passionate about and since I’m a GAWKT fanatic you can expect to hear even more about this from me. I hope everyone is having a great weekend – thanks for reading – now stop reading Domaining blogs…it’s Saturday night 🙂

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Poor Uncle October 3, 2010, 2:43 am

    Does that mean when researching a keyword, one needs to goto google.com, and other partners websites, to gain an overall knowledge of whose the advertisers are? In his comment, one of his keyword went from 8k to 700…so if he only goto google.com and key in that keyword, he would know very little whose the advertisers are. So we should use both tools: GATE & GAKT?

  • backorder it October 3, 2010, 3:18 am

    Now we should use both service togeter…hoping G. Will add both resoult in GATE tool.

  • Ken Stack October 3, 2010, 9:07 am

    Morgan, Thank you for adding my comment to a post. The education you provide in your blog has been extremely beneficial. If I can add to the dialog and help in some way, I will always strive to do this.

    To determine the percentage of decrease in search results, I ran a couple dozen each of the various types of exact match names through the new GAKT and the new Traffic Estimator to compare. Types of names impacted the most were names with double words (dress dress) and names in the incorrect order (dress black), even though advertiser sponsored links were good. The 3-word longtails showed a greater percentage decrease than 2-word. Of course, domainers know that Google made these revisions to prove the Domain King correct yet again in his analysis of names :~D

    The GAKT is still a very useful tool for suggestions of anchor text, title tags, and keywords themes for development of product sites with solid matching content. Both GAKT and GATE are still very useful for determining advertiser’s interest in keywords, so we can build out sites more useful to visitors and retain their interest longer.

    One thing I am hoping they add to the Traffic Estimator are check boxes for the Match Types of Broad, [Exact], and “Phrase” as is shown on the GAKT tool. In the meantime, when using the current GATE tool on the Keyword Tool page, it is necessary to use quotes or brackets around your keywords to obtain the different match type results.

  • Deke October 4, 2010, 2:31 am

    There is a bug in the tool. It keeps happening over and over :

    Sometimes when you search “Exact” it still shows the “Broad” results.

    So…..be careful of what you are seeing and make sure you don’t make a big bidding or development mistake.

  • Who Is Your WEbguy October 13, 2010, 4:32 pm

    So what just happened TODAY? There’s NO ADWORDS on the side!! Is it just me or did the lights just go out on my browser (google)??

  • Hans October 21, 2010, 12:15 pm

    I’m not too crazy about the new Keyword Tool from Google. The best keyword research I think comes from Google Suggest.

    In fact, we’re offering a free software tool that scrapes Google Suggest.

    You can download it for free here: http://www.market-vantage.com/2010/10/free-keyword-research-using-google-suggest/

  • Dan October 28, 2010, 10:24 am


    Do you know if you can still get exact searches using the new google keyword tool? If so, how do you do it?




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