Does the Google AdWords keyword tool tell the whole story?

Do you use Google AdWords for keyword research? If you do, you’ll definitely want to read this post by Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz: Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research.

Rand noticed that many of the terms that bring traffic to SEOMoz weren’t showing up as suggested terms when he did a related search using the Google AdWords keyword tool.

Puzzled, he ran exact match searches for the terms he knew for certain were bringing traffic to SEOMoz, and ta da! They did indeed have search volumes. Here’s a chart of his findings:


(source: Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research – Rand Fishkin)

So, Rand says,

“As you can see, there’s ~50% of the terms not shown in the suggestion list, which is fairly substantive and could lead to some serious missed targeting opportunities.

THE IMPORTANT LESSON: Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase.”

Since we use the AdWords keywords tool quite a bit here at Stem, this is one tidbit we’re very happy to have learned.

Have you had similar experiences with the AdWords keyword tool? Are there other/better keyword research tools you’d recommend? Do tell!

  1. WordStream said:

    For a quick and dirty job, Google’s AdWords keyword tool does the job well – but it was never really built for organic keyword research. (Remember, Google’s tool’s goal is to make money!)

    If you want massive amounts of data and recommendations, then our suite of keyword tools, built on one of the largest keyword databases around the industry, could be exactly what you’re looking for.

    Hope others find this useful!
    Victor from WordStream

    @ 8:09 am

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