The Google Adwords Keyword Tool Mistake

I really want to help make you aware of the Google Adwords Keyword Tool mistake that many people make. But first I want to start by saying that it is not your fault if you are making this mistake. Very big SEO companies, big time internet marketers and even IM conferences teach how to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. And I recently saw a video teaching it where a commenter said it was very useful.

But they are wrong.  They make a mistake just teaching it.

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is not for content marketers. It is not a keyword research tool. What you learn from it is not what you think you learn from it.  The Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides information for one group – Adwords Advertisers.

That’s it.

If you are not an Adwords advertiser, the only thing you can learn from it is whether the keyword has a high likelihood of commercial viability or not. But a monkey could figure that out most of the time.

Quiz:  The three words below were searched by 3 different people. Which keyword most likely resulted in them purchasing something?

A. Weather

B. Weather Channel

C. Weather Alert Radio

If you understand even the slightest bit of marketing you would know that C is the answer. Perhaps 1 person who is searching for “weather” is intending on buying a thermometer, but for the most part that keyword isn’t commercial at all.

If you plug those keywords into the Adwords tool you would find the following:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 9.48.09 AM

Google’s result say that the term “weather” has low competition and good search. You would think to yourself “Holy Moly, I hit the Jackpot!”. But you would be so very incorrect in using the data that way. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool’s data doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of sites competing for that keyword at all. It means that there are not many advertisers bidding for advertising spots in the sidebar. That’s all it means – and that’s totally useless information when it comes to understanding what keywords you want to go after.

Think back to the quiz at the top. If you sell some sort of weather product, would you bid on the term “weather” or something like “weather alert radio”?  Can you imagine how many of the searches for “weather” are 4th graders writing school reports? How about teacher’s checking on the weather before school?

But look what happens when you plug those three keywords into a good keyword research tool (in this case, you find the following:

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.11.23 PM

Now you see that the term “weather” gets searched 6,390,262 times per month – which sounds great doesn’t it?  Well it just so happens that 2,896,452 sites are well optimized for the term “weather”. That means if you want to be on Page 1 of Google for the term “weather”, you have to be better optimized than 2,896,442 other sites.

Now does weather seem like a good plan? Had you followed Google’s tool, you would have thought so.

Unfortunately, “weather alert radio” isn’t a walk in the park either. To get on Page 1 of Google you have to beat 564 other sites. That’s much more doable, but probably isn’t going to happen overnight. With good work you’ll get on Page 1 years before you’ll get anywhere near Page 1 for the term “weather”.

**Asterisk. The reason the # of searches is different between these two tools is because the second was looking at “exact match” and the first “general match”. Exact match means the number of people that type “weather” into the search bar all by itself. General match, as in the Google Adwords Keyword Tool uses, shows every time the word “weather” shows up in a search (ie. weather, weather report, weather station, weather forecast, weather alert radio).

So if you can help it, don’t make the Google Adwords Keyword Tool Mistake. Use something awesome like (the one we use, train, promote and recommend), Market Samurai or Wordtracker.

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One Response to “The Google Adwords Keyword Tool Mistake”

  1. […] 2. Here’s a big one. . . the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. If you’ve been told this is an SEO tool, you’ve been lied to. The only thing the Adwords tool can tell you is if the keyword you’re researching is a commercial or informational term. For more information on that, I wrote a short blog post explaining it. […]