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 🙂

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton