New Google Keyword Tool – Less Useful So Far

I have been doing some keyword analysis this week, did a bunch last night and was going to do more this afternoon.  And right in the middle of my project, Google up and changed their keyword tool.  For some time now the Google Keyword Tool (GKT) has said “New Check out the new Keyword Tool (beta)” at the very top, like in the slide below…..

For those who don’t know, GKT is a critical tool in website SEO and promotion.  The GKT tells us how many people search for each term that may be relevant to our website. So, for example, this website,, you might think the best keywords are “entrepreneur class” or something like that.  After typing “entrepreneur class” into the tool, you learn that very few people search for that every month, something like 12,000.  However, you also learn that over a million type “how to start a business.”  So, you should optimize your website for the second option, not the first.  Lots more people will find you if you put “how to start a business” all over our website.

Anyway, I pulled it up this afternoon and a new screen appeared.  Beta ppears to have gone live!  See the new screen below….

This new version is harder to use.  I could not get it to display the information I needed, which is the column that shows CPC information.  If you can figure out how to get it to display other columns, PLEASE let me know!  Also, the new version lists only 50 data points, not the 179 offered by the older version.  The new version does not allow you to download the whole data set directly into excel for analysis.  The new version requires you to have a Google Adwords account and sign in to get all the good stuff apparently.  I vote NO!

You can still access the old version by scrolling to the far right, at the top, where it says “Previous Interface,” but I bet that disappears soon.

Author: Jim Beach

24 Responses to 'New Google Keyword Tool – Less Useful So Far'

April 29, 2010, 11:21 pm

I really hate it when a major tool or program that thousands of people rely on suddenly up and changes like that. Yea the new google keyword tool sucks nut. Slow as hell. Microsoft is famous for pulling the rug out from computer programers. Now google too??? tsk tsk

April 30, 2010, 10:32 am

I didn’t have to be logged into my AdWords account to get the Excel CSV option. I simply got 100 results max when not logged in. That I can live with, but I didn’t like some other things, as per my post.

May 1, 2010, 10:23 am

It looks like Google is taking its lead from Microsoft and releasing new and improved products that are inferior to the old ones.

May 3, 2010, 1:18 am

The new google keyword tool sucks ass. You have to log into your adwords account to even get a decent amount of data. Even so, the new tool is slow, shitty, a pain in the ass, and gives you conflicting info.

How is it possible that estimated impressions are completely different from exact match search volume?

Someone explain THAT to me…. Come on google!

May 4, 2010, 1:06 am

Interesting comments – seems unanimous that the new tool is not as good as the old one. I guess it remains to be seen if Google is slowly moving this tool to a more”paid” version.

May 5, 2010, 2:34 am

So Nice Onfo Thnx For This Information

Rob Stone
May 25, 2010, 7:16 pm

Its terrible

In general i think Google has some amazing programmers, ideas but this new tool is awful.

Google if you are reading, cut it out and stop messing about. Put the old one back and as the saying goes “if it isnt broke, dont fix it”


May 26, 2010, 12:21 pm

I don’t vouch for applications very often but this new service is outstanding. It’s a keyword tool that has a database of millions of key words showing the adwords traffic count per month along with the google competition count and other data.

At a click of a button you’ll find phrases with traffic but no competition and I’ve used it already to get webpages and web sites to the top of the search engines, even without backlinks.

You can look at a video of it in use here –

June 2, 2010, 6:16 pm

Jacob, when I saw this new Keyword Tool from Google, I thought the same thing. If they were to actually build on and improve the existing tool, I’d consider a paid version, but I’m not likely to go back to the old tool as a “premium” tool.

I don’t have a problem with Google making money, but make sure users are getting some value. They make plenty off of people using their keyword tools to do research on campaigns they’re running in Google Adwords! I wonder what kind of keyword research tool Bing has…

June 14, 2010, 8:00 pm

Great Post! The google keyword tool used to be one of my preferred methods for research, but it feels like it is lacking now.

Another great tool to use can be found at

Both tools have their strengths, so I recommend giving it a try.

July 2, 2010, 2:25 am

Is it me or does the new keyword tool “OMIT” the keyword you entered? Am I doing something wrong here? ANY keyword I enter,I get other keywords but not the one I am interested in…WTH? Anyone else experience this? For now,it looks like I will have to click on previous interface…

July 7, 2010, 2:17 pm

I too do not like the new tool as much as the old. My biggest gripe is that several keywords that previously used to show up consistently during past keyword reviews are now completely gone. I find it hard to believe that the market changed that much to wipe out the keyword search volume in less than 6 months. (Yes I am using broad match..) This happened in a few other categories as well. I am also not crazy about the URL field, but haven’t done an exhaustive research comparing URL to non-URL results.

August 18, 2010, 2:58 pm

I work for an SEM firm and do keyword research for Paid search accounts, and the new keyword tool is inferior for that side of things as well. Issue Number 1- I’ve compared the keyword list generated by the new and old version of the tool (since the old one is still available), and can verify that the new tool generates a much smaller list of relevant keywords (note, not just the size keyword list overall, but the number of words in the list that are actually relevant to your campaign). Issue Number 2- you can indeed download the list of keywords that it generates, but it puts in a slew of unnecessary columns, and I’ve found no way to modify the columns that it displays. You can, of course, hide or delete the columns when you are finished, but while I’m in the process of generating and adding to the list, it makes it very hard to look at the columns that really matter to me (volume and level of competition). Issue Number 3- there is no way in the new tool to generate traffic estimates for a specific list of keywords. This is actually a huge issue for me and the main reason I can’t use the new tool. We use the list to not only generate keyword ideas, but predict traffic for keywords that we define (which plays a major role in how we structure ad groups and campaigns in our accounts). Right now, I switch back to the old tool as soon as Google tries to force their Beta version on me, but, when the old tool goes away, we are going to face a serious hindrance since we won’t have a tool that can easily give us traffic estimates for a whole list of keywords. I might have to search for a new tool that can do this. I wish there was some way to send a protest letter to someone at Google who would actually listen. I’ve sent emails to our account rep, but no real response.

September 2, 2010, 2:59 pm

I did a post on this recently showing how dramatically different the results are between the new and the old versions of Google Keyword Tool. The new interface generates decidedly worse results. It is quite unbelievable how bad it is – verges on being utterly useless. google keyword tool comparison

September 3, 2010, 2:07 am

I agree with BostonSeo, the new interface just isn’t as accurate as the old one. Tried a keyphrase on the old interface and the new interface. The old one showed the keyphrase with traffic volume and competitiveness, the new interface didn’t show a thing. Not very encouraging.

September 3, 2010, 6:57 am

Here’s a another way to look at it. What happens when you optimize your website based upon excellent keyword research? You rely on organic search results as opposed to paying for Google Ads. It’s in Google’s best interest that you don’t find what you need in the keyword research so that you pay for Google Ads instead. Search Engine Optimization is a direct competitor to Google. Thoughts?

September 15, 2010, 3:00 pm

Vastly different results. I was a big user of the old tool. Way better to use.

New tool – exact local search for United Kingdom on [distressed property auction] = 2,900 local 2,900 Global

Old Tool – exact local search for United Kingdom on [distressed property auction] = ‘not enough data’ local 3,600 Global

Vastly different answers. I find this all the time.

WTF Google?

September 23, 2010, 9:31 pm

Well the “previous interface” option is gone as of today for me. wtf am i supposed to use now for keyword research? seriously. @ Erik Rostad – I sure hope you are wrong. the imposition of this useless tool sure seems to support your suggestion.

September 26, 2010, 1:57 am

I had been using the old tool and now just a few days ago it looks like they have done away with it and you can only use the new tool.

The new tool is absolute garbage man and they need to bring the tried and true back!

That is an interesting idea Erik but ultimately I don’t think is true.

Think about this. It is in Google’s best interest to give us the best Keyword results because Google is driven by searchers. So if searchers do not get what they want then they will leave.

So Google needs to deliver the best search results per page and thus wants people to optimize for keywords so we can deliver quality content based on those Keywords.

So while it is an interesting idea I just do not feel Google would do skew the results. But who the hell knows!


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