Since the Google AdWords Keyword Planner only spits out granular data for accounts with sufficient budget, the search for alternatives is big. Rand Fishkin believes that Google Trends is the salvation, but apparently did not understand that Google Trends provides normalized, indexed and keyword-extended data and not absolute numbers. On one point, however, he’s right, even the Keyword Planner doesn’t really provide accurate data, as I stated in another article.
Of course this is an unsatisfactory situation. No wonder that alternatives like keywordtool.io are popular. But how accurate is their data? Because I couldn’t find a clue where they got the data from, and that makes me very suspicious at first. Where would they get the data from, if not via the API? And here the access is limited. On the initiative of my esteemed colleague Christian, I then took a closer look at it. On the one hand he asked where keywordtool.io got the data from (there was no satisfactory answer). On the other hand he got a test account 🙂 A first pre-test brought disappointing results, the numbers were completely different than those of AdWords. However, the colleague was no longer sure if he had chosen the same settings as I did in AdWords, so I did the test again on my own.
With the first keyword set from the pedagogy area, the surprise after the pre-test was big: Apart from a few exceptions, all keywords had exactly the same search volume. The few exceptions were that keywordtool.io did not spit out any numbers, but the keyword planner did. Here, however, there were only 2 out of almost 600 keywords. The second keyword set on the subject of acne also showed the same picture. The search volumes fit exactly except for a few exceptions. Interestingly, both keyword sets were more concerned with topics that did not necessarily stand out due to their high search volume, in some cases we are talking about 20 search queries per month. So it is very likely that the Google AdWords API will be tapped directly here, otherwise these exact numbers cannot be explained. This would also explain why you can only query 10 sets of a maximum of 700 keywords (more than 700 keywords are not possible with the Keyword Planner, but more than 10 per day). Thus keywordtool.io would be a good alternative… if not…
The third keyword set then showed a different picture, the deviations are dramatic. Unlike the previous keywords we are talking about high volume keywords like <used cars>. Unfortunately there is no pattern to be seen on the plot, except for the pattern that keywordtool.io is always higher and never lower. Keywords with a high search volume can be as well off as keywords with a low search volume. It’s also not that it’s always the same deviation, we’re talking about keywords where the numbers fit exactly, and keywords that have a deviation of 16 times the volume reported by Google. There is also no order in any way. The deviations are completely random. And they’re far too big to ignore.
Of course, that won’t stop many people from using keywordtool.io, after all, people like to say “Joa, usually fits” or “It’s better than nothing”. Whether it’s really better, I question that. I wouldn’t want to make any decisions on the basis of such deviations. The keyword planner is the better option, even if it only delivers staggered values, if you don’t have enough budget.
By the way, the data of the third set are available here in an R notebook.