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Categories: How to, Internet. Tags: ,

… alternatively, the Adwords Keyword tool is spot on

November 18, 2010 4 Comments

I wrote earlier that Google's Adwords keywod tool was completely useless in the UK - no one in the comments seemed to agree with me. So maybe I was wrong.

I'm still comfortable with the logic of my argument. If the global monthly search volumes given by the tool are for searches on google.com, then the local search volumes cannot include data for google.co.uk.

But it is equally possible, as two of the commenters argued, that the premise I relied on was wrong: the data I used would be the same if the global monthly search volumes were for all versions of Google and the local data was for searches from the UK. If that was the case, the data would be good for the UK - but anyone relying on the global figures being based on google.com data, as Google says, would be using erroneous data.

A pointless picture

A pointless picture

So which is it?

Google employee's view

I'd based my assumption that global search volume data was for google.com on this comment from a Google employee, which said:

If you use both the previous and updated versions of the Keyword Tool to search for keywords, you may notice differences between the tools for statistics on Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches. This is because the previous version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com search traffic and traffic from search partners, while the updated version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com traffic only. We've updated these statistics based on user feedback, and hope you find them helpful for keyword selection.

Help text

There is also the help text on the tool itself, which says:

Global Monthly Searches: The approximate 12-month average of user queries for the keyword on Google.com. This data is specific to your Keyword Match Type selection.

At least, that's what it says now. I copied and pasted it earlier, when it said:

The approximate 12-month average of user queries for the keyword on Google.com and the Google Search Network.

So they appear to have updated it (or else I got an old version of the help text on one occasion, maybe from some out of date data centre). Either way, both versions specify google.com.

Under the help text for local searches, it says:

If you specified a country or language for your search, this is the approximate 12-month average number of user queries for the keyword for those countries and languages.

Then there's a learn more link that takes you to a page that no longer exists. Hmm.

Adwords help section

There's this page in the adwords help section, which says:

You can find search statistics in the Keyword Tool's Local Monthly Searches and Global Monthly Searches columns. These statistics show the approximate number of search queries matching your keywords that were performed on Google and the Search Network over the past month....

...

The Global Monthly Searches column always shows traffic in all countries and all languages

However, it doesn't say whether that's all versions of Google or google.com. Plus the point about the search network appears to contradict the earlier quote that: "the previous version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com search traffic and traffic from search partners, while the updated version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com traffic only".

Finally, i found this page, which says, in its entirety:

Why do search traffic statistics vary between keyword tools?

The Keyword Tool combines search data across Google.co.uk and all affiliated search properties. Data from the tools may vary due to the ad group that you've selected to research, or whether you've accessed the tools from outside your account. Numeric data between the tools may also differ due to rounding.

That makes no sense at all. There's no part of the data that is google.co.uk only - or if there is, they don't tell you that anywhere else ...

Conclusion

As I said at the start, I still think, as a matter of logic, that if global search volumes are based on google.com data, then the local volumes that the tool gives cannot include google.co.uk data.

It could be that global search volumes are given for all versions of Google, and hence the UK data ia accurate.

It could be somewhere in between.

It would help if Google were to review their various statements and tell us what's going on ... For now, I still don't see how anyone can rely on the data.

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  3. Google keyword tool: only certain ‘exact numbers’ show
  4. What The X Factor tells us about Google’s keyword and search-volume analysis tools
  5. Working out what people are searching for now …

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