Oh boy, do we have a treat for you. The controversial Google search volume scandal has frustrated users all over the internet in the past few weeks, but no more! We at PRT have got that problem solved and anyone who uses our tool via a monthly plan can now see the full search volume of their keywords instead of just useless ambiguous ranges. Check it out, here’s a screenshot:
If you use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool, you may have become painfully aware already that Google has made some pretty major changes to the tool. Instead of showing precise search volume data like it always has, it’s begun to show these strange ranged estimates. And to make things worse, these ranges are very broad, such as “1k-10k”, “100k-1M” and “1M+”. (1M+ seemed to be the highest estimate one could get. So a search volume of 2.3M and 10M will both show as simply 1M+).
This recent Google update caused an expected and understandable stir in the SEO world, as the search volume of keywords is a vital part of virtually all SEO basics, and many SEO experts and web marketers that are dependent on this data have been impacted as a result. Google confirmed that it was a change meant to favor higher-paying AdWords advertisers, and according to Google, AdWords users with a “lower monthly spend” will see limited-ranged data in the planner—essentially making this valuable tool pretty much useless. Many are left with two options: either become a “higher-paying” AdWords advertiser or start wandering the web in search of other tools that can provide this vital keyword research data. This especially hurts SEOs who are doing mostly organic and don’t need a serious AdWords campaign.
Apparently, even an active paid AdWords account doesn’t guarantee a constant flow of search volume data. Keyword Planner now limits the amount of full data that can be accessed, and after this undisclosed limit has been reached, the detailed data will revert to ranged search volumes. Most likely this is a way to close a loophole in this new system, where one paid AdWords campaign could abuse it, acting as a third-party reseller and providing search volume data on an unlimited amount of different keywords for others (or even giving the data for free, and by doing so, foiling their “don’t be evil” plans).
So, what is this minimum monthly amount that one must spend to see detailed data? Well, Google officially refuses to share this information, and reports from users across the web vary – some managed to get clear data for their keywords for a monthly spend of less than $100, while others reported spending a few hundred dollars monthly but still saw only ranged data. An interesting bit of info came from an advertiser by the name of Lance C. on the Google forums after having a conversation with a Google customer service manager. The gist of it is that if you haven’t had an actively paid running AdWords campaign for at least 3-4 months, you won’t get to see the clear data. Meaning, even a monthly spend of $2,000 might not be enough unless you stick to that payment for at least 3-4 months in a row. Even for users that HAVE reached their desired monthly expenditure, there seems to be a limit to how many times per day they can view search volume data, with Google giving this message once that limit is reached:
Bing, on the other hand, has yet to climb on this bandwagon, and although their Keyword research tool addresses only Bing search volume, it currently doesn’t even require an active account, let alone a paid one. And while we’re on the subject of Bing ever being the nice uncle in this relationship, you should read this article about why including Yahoo! and Bing in your SEO is so important:
So, now comes the big question: what can you do if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee of several hundred dollars or if you don’t have 4 months to wait for your account to be considered “worthy” by Google? Or simply if you’re doing strictly organic SEO? Simple. Track your keywords with PRT as you usually would, and the search volume will appear in the search volume data table cell!
That’s all there is to it, really. After some good old-fashioned research and development, we managed to bypass that restriction, and everyone in our paid plans are once more enjoying the FULL scope of their keyword data, be it ranks or otherwise. We can now proudly say that this crisis has come to an end, at least on our part. SEO is an arms race against Google and other search engines, and solving such issues as fast as possible and giving our clients that edge by providing them with the best SERP tracker they can get is one of our top priorities.