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Google Keyword Planner Limits Data - Problems Ensue

The SEO community has been abuzz with discussion about Keyword Planner's recent data restrictions that have deep implications for SEOs and digital marketers. Due to the significance of the data limitations Google has rolled out, I thought it pertinent to update you as to the exact issue you may be facing and how to most effectively deal with it.  


Google Keyword Planner Data Limitation Timeline 

 

Keyword Planner Data Lockout

In order to get better oriented with what exactly transpired with Google's keyword research tool we need to understand the progression of events surrounding Keyword Planner over the past three months or so. 

June 27, 2016: Reports surface that unless you have active AdWords campaigns you will soon be blocked from the tool altogether. The news was taken to be a major shock that was completely unexpected. 

June 28, 2016: Just one day after reports of Google's move to restrict Keyword Planner access surfaced, it's revealed that the tool has been aggregating search volume data for similar keyword phrases. As a result, similar keywords showed the same search volume data. 

June 29, 2016: Google announces that the changes to Keyword Planner were not the result of any conscious reorganization of the tool's abilities, but were merely a bug

August 9, 2016:
Reports of Keyword Planner showing search volume ranges filter in, and the SEO community speculates this to be yet another Google bug. 

August 15, 2016: It's confirmed that Keyword Planner's data limitations seen the previous week were not the result of a bug as first suspected. Rather, the Google tool was updated to show diminished search volume data (specifically search volume data ranges, i.e. 10K - 100K) to Google AdWords account holders with "limited" budgets. 


While there is no official connection between the events in June to those in August, together they reflect a continuum of Keyword Planner evolution that leaves the tool's data reporting abilities distinctly hampered. Some within the SEO industry have speculated that the original limitations from June were met with resistance, pulled back, and released again with modification in August. 


What the Data Restriction to Keyword Planner Means to Users 



Technically speaking, should an AdWords account exceed Google's spending threshold, detailed search volume data should appear. However, Google has said that even MCC accounts may see restricted data if the number of searches they perform exceed a certain limit. The hard fact is that many users, particularly those using Keyword Planner for optimization purposes (i.e. not PPC)  will see restricted search volume data when using Keyword Planner. This of course makes conducting keyword research a bit inefficient to say the least. 

The current search volume "ranges" that Keyword Planner is displaying are "bucketed." Meaning, Google has predefined certain ranges, 1K -10K, 10K - 100K, and so forth. Pragmatically speaking, this is quite significant as the ranges are quite expansive. Just for argument's sake, say a keyword you are researching has an actual monthly search volume of 1,200. It would be one thing if Google supplied you with a range of 1k - 1.5K. However, under the current construct, your rage would be 1K - 10K, with no way of knowing if the true monthly search volume is closer to 1K or closer to 10K. This problem of course grows exponentially as you move up to broader "range buckets" as the difference between each bucket's minimum and maximum values only increases. 

To make a long story short, the search volume data limitations just rolled-out can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your keyword research, which is of course a very big deal for SEOs and marketers. I don't think I need to say anything more than that. 


What Do I Do Now that Keyword Planner Has Limited Search Volume Data? 

 

The obvious and essential question is: what to do now if you were relying on Keyword Planner to gain insight into keyword search volume data? For those readers who have a Rank Ranger account, you already have access to our keyword research tool, called Keyword Finder, that we began developing long before Keyword Planner underwent its recent restrictive changes. As an aside, access to this tool can be acquired as a standalone research tool.  

Search Volume Data in Keyword Finder

A keyword search for "Keyword Planner" set to only show those keywords with a search volume greater than 97 yields results with individual search volumes presented in ascending order 


Keyword Finder is backed by a 500 million keyword dataset. We have stored all our historical keyword data, which means that we can offer you individual keyword volumes for half a billion keywords. Note, you can use Keyword Finder to specifically target keywords according to search volume by either setting a custom search volume threshold in your search, ordering results by search volume, or by employing the tool's Popular Search Terms quick filter (which presents only those keywords with a minimum search volume of 3K). Whatever your search volume preference, know that all is not lost, and you do have accurate and specific keyword search volume data available to you. 


Stay Calm and Get Individual Search Volume Data 



Google removing individual search volume data from Keyword Planner is a big deal, no doubt about it. Fortunately, you do have a solid keyword research option at your disposal. We are currently working on updating the historical keyword data we have stored in order to provide individual search volume data for additional keywords outside of our current 500 million keyword dataset. We will provide you with an update once the new data is available. In the meantime, Keyword Finder is of course at your disposal, happy keyword hunting!  
About The Author
​Mordy is the CMO of Rank Ranger as well as the host of The In Search SEO Podcast. Despite his numerous and far-reaching marketing duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That's why you’ll find him ​regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!




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