Over the years, I’ve joked that “Google giveth, and Google taketh away.”
Here we go again.
And this time, it may directly affect how you do business.
Here’s what’s happening…
The free ride is over
Years ago, Google’s Keyword Planner was considered a fairly viable keyphrase research tool. Accessing it was easy, the data was decent, and, most importantly, it was free. Sure, it was created for PPC ad research, but it (mostly) did the organic trick.
In fact, many writers (and even agencies) relied on Google’s Keyword Planner for all their organic keyphrase research.
Then, over the years, Google changed the game.
At first, you had to be logged into Google to use the tool. No big deal.
Then, you needed to create an AdWords account to access the tool. You didn’t have to spend money, but you did need to sign up.
Then, Google started to show search volume ranges rather than specific numbers (unless you were a major advertiser; then you got to see it all.)
Sure, search volume ranges made the data fairly worthless (especially compared to paid keyphrase research tools,) but some loyal folks stuck with it — probably because it was free.
What does this mean?
Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo
If you’re not spending money with Google, you’ve been kicked off the Keyword Planner island. If you want back on, you have to reactivate your account, reinstate a PPC ad campaign — and yes, actually run it and pay money.
You don’t get to play with the latest and greatest Keyword Planner without paying (for a PPC campaign.)
Plus, Google is instituting the change this week. So, there’s virtually no warning.
How bad is this, really?
Many companies and writers have dropped Keyword Planner in favor of another, more robust keyphrase research tool. This is a good thing.
However, if Keyword Planner has been your best keyphrase research buddy, it’s time to find another option — fast. Check out tools like Keyword Finder, Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. Try their free trials. See what feels the best to you.
Yes, these tools cost money. But look at it this way — you’ve been getting a free ride all these years. It’s time to see where a real keyphrase research tool will take you.
Once you roll around in all the juicy data a paid tool provides, you’ll never go back to free.
Besides, a good keyphrase research tool is just as important as your computer, your website, and everything else you need to run your business.
Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn
It’s time to take the plunge.
What do you think?
When I published this information in my weekly newsletter, the feedback was split down the middle. About half of my respondents were freaking out, and asking for my keyphrase research tool suggestions (here you go.) The rest said they stopped using Google’s Keyword Planner a long time ago, and enjoy the tasty data a paid keyphrase research tool provides.
How about you?
Are you shaking your fist at Google, cursing them for taking away yet another “useful” tool? Or, did you read this with Zen-like calm, knowing Google is … well … Google? Comment below and let me know!