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Why I don’t Recommend Google’s keyword Tool for SEO?

Google’s keyword tool is useless when doing keyword research for SEO and yet most people prefer doing keyword research using Google’s Keyword tool only. Rather I must say Adwords Keyword Tool. The choice of using it is obvious because – It’s free, it’s by Google and last but not the least Internet is full of recommendation to use it. We need to understand one thing before using it, which is it is not SEO keyword research tool but it is a PPC Keyword research tool.

The question may come what is the difference between the two. There is difference of hell and heaven.

Google’s Keyword tool is not for analyzing SEO competition but for analyzing PPC competition.

Let me try to explain this with an example. Let us take a broad keyword say blog or blogging. Google Adwords Keyword tools reports both of them as low competition keywords.

Now let us look at the same keywords into Market Samurai, the tool I use for my SEO Based keyword research but you can use any other SEO competition-analyzing tool of your choice.

See the RDP column in screenshot above, which means referring domains as back links to the ranked pages. You will find that you need 10k+ links pointing to your page alone to rank for the keyword blog or blogging and this is by no means a low competitive keyword.

You may wonder is Google keyword tool reporting wrongly? NO the Google keyword tool reports competition for PPC and not for organic SEO. You can see there are no ads for the terms Blog or blogging.

So what does this mean, You can get cheap traffic if you target keywords like blog or blogging for your Adwords campaign but it gives you no idea on the keywords competitiveness for Google’s organic rankings.

So never use Google’s Adwords keyword tool for SEO and only use it for PPC keyword competition analysis.

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  • Finally, an insightful explanation for what I’ve been struggling with for months. I use an SEO tool for SEO, and I’ve often wondered why the tool tells me I have high competition for KW that are Low competition in the KWT. You’re right, we’re comparing apples and oranges when comparing what the tools tell us versus what the KWT tells us.

    Thank you!

    • The pleasure is all mine Carlos.

  • its strange how nearly everything google keywords reports back as low competition even it has 13 million monthly searches.

    • Google keywords reports competition for PPC and not for SEO.

  • AFine

    I came across this page because I was searching around to find out how useful the ‘competition’ rating is on the adwords keyword tool in terms of how competitive it is going to be to rank well for a certain term, and it sounds like it isn’t all that relevant. However, I think I’m going to continue to use the keyword tool for the ‘global monthly searches’ amount to get an idea of how many searches are being done for certain keywords (when you do an ‘exact’ search). I assume it’s still somewhat useful in that aspect.
    Also, how exactly do you use this market samurai tool to see how many backlinks you need to rank (or to rank highly) for a particular keyword? And is this a common feature from other seo products? That would be very useful information to know!

    • Yes number of search data is useful in Adwords.

      Regarding Market Samurai, they don’t tell you how many links you need to rank higher but they tell how many backlinks other sites ranking higher have and where. This can help you get lot of information that you need.

      I would say some way or the other, it is part of all SEO products.

  • Habib

    Dear Bro,
    How are you!
    I have been using MS (Free Version) for quite some times now. It was excellent until google algo updates. MS people are really great but due to the changes in some Matrices like the one which is used to find the competition figures is now become ineffective, (i guess) as for competition the Bing data is being used. What is your stance on this?
    Secondly, how to find competition data of Google for a particular keyword. Thanks

    • Habib, yes I do agree with you on some data becoming ineffective when it comes to using Bing in MS but what I do is I use the data of Bing to Find relatively good keywords and then use the SEO Competition tab to generate results for those keywords to see how things are in Google and what sites rank well for those keywords. Is the matrix for the keyword easy to beat. I have explained that matrix here under Analyzing Keyword Competitions. I hope it helps.

  • Hi Shabbir,

    I have a an odd question but I think it relates: Using Google’s keyword tool I searched ‘submit videos to madtv forums’ and got about 1.9m results, but no ads were displaying. Does that mean I have found a ‘perfect’ longtail keyword? Meaning there is no competition for that keyword? Thx.!

    • Michael, you have found a keyword where there is no competition in PPC but there is competition in SEO because as it has 1.9m results.

      Even if you search for blog in Google you will see no ads but when you search for blog hosting you will see so many ads. It means blog as a term is low on PPC competition but not low on SEO competition.

  • Great article. I used to use Google Adwords keyword tool for my SEO but then I found Market Samurai as well. It is an amazing tool! Keyword research is so simplified when using it. There are a few features I wish it would allow, but for the most part it does the job.

    • Great to see Market Samurai is working really well for you Gabe.

  • Constant researching on seo keywords is giving me new views. There is a night and day difference between MS & Google keyword tool. Well, as of now, I think to use google keywords tool to understand the global & local searches and MS to understand the front page competition. Lets see how my views change tomorrow 🙂

    And about MS’s glitch of not fetching some datas, I guess its all fixed and working fine now 🙂

    • Example of above said, for one of the search term, MS shows monthly search as 5100 and google shows as 720. Here is a 7x difference. Anyways, it seems we should use these keywords tool only for choosing the best keyword from lots and NOT to go by their stats.

    • Nice to see that MS glitch is fixed.

  • If my understanding goes right, the google adword that has high SEOV(commercialized) value will get the page owner a good income.

    • Yes right. So more SEOV means more advertisers are spending for those terms.

      • Yep! Got it,thanks for that info buddy!

  • I’ve just seen 4 Golden Rules videos of Market Samurai. About the 4th Golden Rule, ‘Commerciality’, does it apply to all the websites or only product-selling website? I believe if we are content-based website, all that we need to see is ‘relevant keyword, traffic for that keyword and competition for that keyword’. Money Value for that particular keyword is not important if we are not a product-selling website. Correct me if i’m wrong.

    • No it depends on content based websites that are monetized based on CPC based business model because if you have a website where you have very few advertisers means you have very little advertisers competition to make you big money for clicks.

  • One other question 😛

    Have you heard about scrapeBox? It seems to find high PR blogs in your niche and post blog comments. People are using it and enjoying free traffic. It will post comments to 1000s of blogs in few minutes. Does it NOT sound like a spam? if so, how SEO people are using it??

    • It is spamming and though it used to work very well before 20th March 2012, Google’s recent update has made many link building blog network shut down. I have updated my Link Building Strategies to not use such blog networks now. BuildMyRank.com is one of the first network that is now closed.

      • Yes, I guess this is one of the big black hat technique. Thakns for that info shabbir.

  • Shabbir!

    Your suggestion seems to work out. I’m using Market Samurai trial version. It seems to give a good dimension on researching keywords. However, before buying this tool, I’ve googled for other tools. I have few questions on those if you have time to answer.

    1.Almost all the tools asks for monthly fees. This Market Samurai is a one time fee, right?

    2.I read somewhere about Synnd tool. It says ‘Synnd is a social networking community that helps you quickly and easily generate backlinks through social bookmarking. According to their website, it’s the equivalent of having 1,500 people across the world promoting your content’. So, synnd will give us automated quality backlinks? any idea on this??

    3.I understand that there are a lot of interesting tools which if we use properly, we’ll get a good traffic. However, content is king and which i’m missing currently :). I have few domains as ‘cureaddicts.com’, ‘verifiedhomejobs.com’, ‘dailyads.co.in’. Since I had bought these domains for different purpose and which does not seem to work out now, I’m lost as what to add. Will it be advisable to add some genuine articles and affiliate marketing + google adwords?

    Well, that was a lot many questions to answer. Take your time and skip if not comfort at answering some 🙂

    • Hi Karthic, Here are my answer to your questions.

      1. Yes. MS is one time fee for most of the Keyword related features but they have monthly fees if you want other features like Rank Checker tool for thousands of keywords. Ideally you may not need that.

      2. I have no idea about synnd but I don’t prefer those automated backlinks and now it should be avoided even more because Google is de-indexing over optimized sites.

      3. I don’t understand what is your questions but for those domains you can have niche sites. I also have many domains which I plan to have niche sites but don’t have the time to get those done. Domains like dreamiim.com and many others. Regarding affiliates and Adwords, Google don’t allow you to promote all the Affiliate products and it depends on niche and your site as well.

      I hope it helps.

      • That really helps, Shabbir.

        • The pleasure is all mine Karthic.

  • Karthic

    Shabbir,
    1.How did you find that we need 10k+ back links to rank our website for ‘blog’ keyword. As am unable to read or understand that above ss, am not able to find it.
    2.Now I understand the difference between google and others. But why is there no ad providers for ‘blog’ or ‘blogging’? Its the top keywords that will be used by many. So why is there no takers for these keywords even though its available for cheap cost?

    • Karthic,

      10k+ number I came up is from the RDP column and there was a typo about BLP and it should be RDP. In RDP column you would see most of them has more than 10k links pointing to the page. For other abbreviations please see my article – http://imtips.co/seo-keyword-research.html

      There are no advertisers for the term blog and blogging because those terms would have very limited conversion on any product based on blogging.

      Lets say you sell product for creating blog and so if you target blog or blogging as keywords there are very low chances that those people are actually looking to create blog and so as an advertiser you would target create blog as keyword and not blog as keyword.

      Again create blog does not mean people are looking to buy anything but still you would see some advertisers for that keywords but then search for host blog and you would see lot of more ads in Google.

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