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Accuracy Of Google Adwords Tool


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8 replies to this topic

#1 dsutton

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:06 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been doing some keyword research using the Adwords tool, and most of the time, I've been using broad match. After reading some posts here, I explored exact match and while the counts are much lower, it's nice to know that i'm getting counts for just the keywords I've entered.

There is one thing that confuses me, though, so I thought I'd ask the experts.

Many of my keywords are returning hyphens - no data at all. Is this keyword tool considered to be accurate, and if so, is it everyone's opinion that resources shouldn't be wasted on these keywords that return no results?

Thanks for your help!

#2 Jill

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:00 PM

I would consider those long tail keywords. They've obviously been searched on by the fact that the too shows them, but not enough that they have an accurate count.

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:58 AM

I agree with Jill's assessment that you're probably looking at long tail expressions. That said, many people have questioned / challenged the accuracy and reliability of the AdWords keyword tool. But it's the only window we have in to Google's general query data -- everything else is either very limited (such as analytics data or Webmaster Tools data) or else it's based on other resources that offer no insight into Google's traffic (but which may provide insight into general search engine user behavior).

#4 dsutton

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:52 AM

Thanks for the replies.

Jill, not sure I understand. Any keyword I add in the search box will show up in the results, but of course, only a fraction of them show data. Some of the ones with data show counts as low as 15 or 20 per month, which leads me to believe that the ones with dashes are never searched for. Thoughts?

I would consider those long tail keywords. They've obviously been searched on by the fact that the too shows them, but not enough that they have an accurate count.



#5 Jill

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:10 AM

If they were never searched, how would google know to show them at all?

#6 MaryKrysia

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:41 PM

If they were never searched, how would google know to show them at all?


Google's keyword tool always lists every keyword that is entered in the "Find Keywords" box and displays " - " when there is no record of any searches.

#7 MarcP

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:45 AM

I agree with Jill's assessment that you're probably looking at long tail expressions. That said, many people have questioned / challenged the accuracy and reliability of the AdWords keyword tool. But it's the only window we have in to Google's general query data -- everything else is either very limited (such as analytics data or Webmaster Tools data) or else it's based on other resources that offer no insight into Google's traffic (but which may provide insight into general search engine user behavior).


Almost all if not all keyword research tools use GAKT as their hub.

#8 nethy

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:12 AM

All keyword tools are questionably accurate. This is no different, the Adwords keyword tool is, in my experience, a pretty good. We often have multiple data sources and they often conflict, so we know that we have inaccuracy on one or more (or all) of these tools).

For example, you might know how much traffic/clickthroughs 1-3 adwords position for 80% queries (using adwords reports), know how many impressions/clickthroughs you get from a mostly no. 1 (as far as you can tell) organic ranking. You can check total searches with the adwords keyword tool and other tools using different data sources. You will almost always end up with some confusing gaps. Sometimes these are huge gaps like 100X or 1000X, usually though they're not that big. Usually they are within 100% and that's good enough. The tools are opaque enough and all measure slightly different things (different treatment of geolocation, keyword matching, search engine, etc) so you can explain away the difference with these alone. In my opinion though, you are sometimes dealing with bad data

Overall accuracy and data sources are way better than they were before, and we did this job then. :)



When using the tool, it helps to keep in mind too things in mind 2 things.

1 - It's made for adwords users. So, it's tied into Google's (as always, opaque) definition of keyword matching, geolocation, etc.. Understand these. If you are looking for accuracy, tick the [exact match] checkbox.
http://support.googl...&answer=2497836

2 - Live with inaccuracy. You can. Unless you really really want the "-" keyword's traffic (there are legitimate reasons*), try to treat these as longtail keywords and target them indirectly. In fact, use broad and phrase match numbers to decide on "keyword clouds" that you can target which will produce traffic from indirectly targeted keywords.

* EG: 25 visits per year from the right keywords might result in a meaningful business outcome for some businesses. If a law firm gets 5 long term clients from those searches, 2 searches per month could be their main customer acquisition channel and directly targeting click a year keywords might be worth pursuing, even if a no. 1 ranking might never produce a visit. But, these are extreme cases. Usually if its smaller than measurement size, don't directly target it.
  • chrishirst likes this

#9 RomitaNegi

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:40 AM

If you really need to choose long tailed keywords and also want to consider those keywords which show up data in GA Keyword Tool, you can take small keywords having good searches and combine them to form a long tailed keyword.
The subsets of keywords in a long tailed keyword also results in an optimized search.
e.g. digital printing + case studies = digital printing case studies.




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