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Google Finally Reveals Search Volume Numbers for Keywords

July 10th, 2008

google-adwords-marketing-information.jpgIn a welcome development for search engine optimizers and bum marketers everywhere, Google has finally pulled back one of its metaphorical curtains and is now displaying the actual volume numbers for search queries through its AdWords keyword tool. When I first read about this yesterday, initial reports on other blogs were mixed and rather inconclusive; many people were reporting that the AdWords tool was still not showing any specific numbers but only the vague bar graphs as before. Although there was much speculation about the idea that Google was somehow geo-targeting this or was only displaying the new data for its AdWords customers, it has now been confirmed on the Google AdWords Blog that this has become a permanent feature. Earlier this morning I confirmed it myself by running the query “search engine optimization” through the AdWords tool and analyzing the numbers. Here is a screenshot of the results:


It should be noted that the volume numbers are still somewhat of an approximation, but they are precise enough for bum marketing purposes or AdWords targeting. After running a few different kinds of queries and studying the numbers a little more closely, I have determined the degree of precision that Google seems to be using. Here are my findings based on the figure that is given for the total monthly search volume:

  1. less than 100 — results given are exact numbers
  2. 100 - 1000 — results are rounded to the nearest 10
  3. 1001 - 100,000 — rounded to the nearest 100
  4. 100,001 - 1,000,000 — rounded to the nearest 1000
  5. 1,000,001 - 10,000,000 — rounded to the nearest 10,000
  6. 10,000,001 - 100,000,000 — rounded to the nearest 100,000
  7. 100,000,001 and up — rounded to the nearest million

Although Google’s apparent intention for releasing this data is to assist AdWords users with their campaigns and thus retain more PPC market share, it has the beneficial side effect of helping us bloggers who are trying to optimize our posts for maximum search engine traffic and revenue. Most bum marketers have been relying on the free Wordtracker and Trellian Keyword Discovery tools, but these sometimes give “false positives” in the sense that the data for some long tail keywords is not always reliable and needs to be checked against another source before investing the time to write an article or create a new niche site based on the results. Presumably Google’s results will be more reliable, and they seem clearer and easier to interpret than those reported by the other free tools.

Some people have already speculated that this recent development will put the paid keyword tools out of business, although some products such as SEO Elite and Keyword Elite are so much more comprehensive and robust than any of the currently extant free tools that they are probably worth the money if you’re really serious about SEO and keyword targeting. In any event, I am happy to see that we will now have another easily available research tool to use for figuring out exactly how many people are already searching for our favorite keywords.

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